Over the years, we’ve heard dozens of clients express great fondness for PopChar — a handy pop-up utility that displays all the characters in a selected font. Click on any character to automatically insert it into your active text block ($30 shareware).

A new Universal Binary version keeps the idea of the older versions, but with an entirely new approach that’s appropriate for today’s applications and OpenType fonts. The PopChar palette can now float above other windows, and it detects the current font in most applications.

If you work with special characters, picture fonts, or want to explore the vastness of OpenType fonts, PopChar greatly simplifies the process.

It can display either ASCII characters or Unicode characters, and when in Unicode mode, the glyphs are grouped by category (Latin, punctuation, symbols, etc.) An innovative Spotlight-like field lets you search for glyphs by character, name, or category (Greek, ligature, punctuation, etc.) As you hover over a character, the keystrokes needed to create the character are displayed.

A new view displays your recently-used characters, and the font menu clusters your recently-used fonts together. You can insert a character either without formatting (it then takes on the formatting of its insertion point), or with the font and size you choose in PopChar. It can also paste as HTML code for use in Web pages.

Source: PopChar was profiled in September’s issue of Design Tools Monthly.