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Old 01-13-2018, 12:52 PM   #1
Gary Harper
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Customizable symbol table?

This is another newbie comment from someone who just discovered the Joy of Se, er Sigil a month ago. I am a technical writer who needs quite a few special unicode symbols, many of which I composed as one-symbol clips. However, it would be less clumsy to reserve clips for tags and styling and just click on a symbol in the symbol table.

Unfortunately, I use only a few in there, so I am wondering whether that table could be made customizable in a future release? I would dump some Greek letters in there and some special math symbols; and get rid of most of the others.

BTW thanks KevinH for all of your time and help, and the other posters who tried to help a newbie on the "Sigil user interface issues" thread.
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:15 PM   #2
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Hi Gary,
I will look into it but then every single character chosen by the user would have to be stored in the user's settings and read back in each time it is invoked.

Given xhtml/html named and numeric entities can easily be entered at any keyboard and preserved or autoconverted by Sigil to the character itself, and given a string of special characters can be easily stored on the clipboard for easy access, and given that mathml for mathematical symbols and formulae, exist, perhaps you can easily achieve what you want in some other way?

Most of the papers I write use mathematical symbols and I use LibreOffice's math editor to create the formula and convert to mathml. I then use MathJax to convert them to svg if so desired. For common math symbols used inline with text, I simply create unique two or three letter placeholders in the text to speed typing (ie. *0 for infinity, etc). Once complete, I use search and replace to change the placeholders to their numeric or named entity once across all xhtml files. I then run Mend across all files and any named or numeric entities that are not preserved in the Sigil settings are changed to their character equivalent.

A quicker "solution" might be to extend the Insert Special Character Dialog for our next release. If you feel common symbols are missing, other might agree, and adding them is simple and does not require any additional settings.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:29 PM   #3
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Just for information/some ideas...

Finereader has a "Recently Used Characters" row like this:

Click image for larger version

Name:	FinereaderSymbolGUI.png
Views:	124
Size:	7.1 KB
ID:	161513

Which saves the last 16 used characters. The above GUI is similar to Word/LibreOffice (and pretty much every other program I've run across with an "Insert Special Characters").

Calibre's Editor is a completely different beast, and gives you your own "Favorites" page where you can add any characters you want:

Click image for larger version

Name:	CalibreSpecialCharacterGUI.png
Views:	134
Size:	17.0 KB
ID:	161514

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 01-13-2018 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:35 PM   #4
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Yes, the idea of a last used cache of 16 chars I like. But for Codeview, things like Font or Font size really make no sense as these are unicode codepoints or even multiple codepoints to select with the remainder determined by CSS.

Thanks for those ideas.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinH View Post
Yes, the idea of a last used cache of 16 chars I like.
Yeah, I first noticed it in Finereader, I thought it was pretty helpful.

I don't often click on the Insert Special Characters within programs... but I poked around.

Word 2010 also has the "Recently used Symbols":

Click image for larger version

Name:	Word2010SpecialCharactersGUI.png
Views:	115
Size:	12.7 KB
ID:	161517

LibreOffice doesn't currently:

Click image for larger version

Name:	LibreOffice5.4SpecialCharactersGUI.png
Views:	105
Size:	11.1 KB
ID:	161518

although they are reworking it for 6.0:

https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/...es/6.0#Dialogs

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinH View Post
But for Codeview, things like Font or Font size really make no sense as these are unicode codepoints or even multiple codepoints to select with the remainder determined by CSS.
If font isn't displayed in a dropdown, it should at least be settable in the Options.

Depending on the font, sometimes you just have no idea what certain characters are because they look wildly different from what you are used to:

Click image for larger version

Name:	GreekLettersDifferences.png
Views:	119
Size:	15.8 KB
ID:	161519

I mostly use Special Characters when trying to select Greek characters that were wrongly OCRed... so I try to just go by "the look". Depending on the font, sometimes the Greek letters ζχψ are squiggly, sometimes not.

Also, a lot of fonts are missing things like Greek letters with accents or obscure math characters... so it is helpful to scroll through fonts until you see something you recognize.

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 01-14-2018 at 01:38 AM.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:58 AM   #6
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I agree that it's awkward. I've generally replaced it with clips.

Sometimes a window like that will vanish if one continues to type, or if one hits the Escape key. That would help.

Or could it remain while we continue to type? As I recall -- I don't use it much any more -- it must be closed before any further work is done.
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:58 AM   #7
Gary Harper
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Wonderful ideas. Thanks Kevin, Tex. NotJohn.
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notjohn View Post
...

Sometimes a window like that will vanish if one continues to type, or if one hits the Escape key. That would help.

Or could it remain while we continue to type? As I recall -- I don't use it much any more -- it must be closed before any further work is done.
I assume you are referring to those other programs?? The window is not modal in Sigil. If I am going to be using symbols a lot I move the special character window onto the other monitor next to my preview window.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:26 PM   #9
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What I’ve done for myself is compile a list of characters I use, at https://gist.github.com/jcsalomon/1325295. Make your own version based on what you do & need.
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:08 AM   #10
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I have mapped some frequently used special characters using AutoHotKey, mostly to Function keys on the keyboard. But if you are constantly using more that ten or twenty characters, your hot-key combinations could get rather complex.

I have been doing this so long now, that as I type anywhere, I instinctively reach for the F1 and F2 keys to insert curly quote marks, even in a plain-text email! Habit is a wonderful thing!
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Old 01-23-2018, 12:17 PM   #11
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The more I look into this, it would just be easier to extend the current Insert Special Character Dialog with the remaining 120 or so characters from the full xhtml named entity set. These typically represent Greek symbols (capital and lower case, math symbols, and other special symbols).

That way the table most likely has most special symbols but if a user wants something for quicker use they can use clips for their most frequently used characters.

I will try to get this committed to master soon.

Last edited by KevinH; 01-23-2018 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 01-24-2018, 12:21 PM   #12
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Okay just added a Greek Letter panel and a Mathematical Symbol panel to the Insert->Special Characters Dialog and pushed the changes to master.

With these additional symbols along with custom clips, there should be coverage of the most commonly used and the most frequently used symbols.
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Old 01-25-2018, 03:44 AM   #13
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@GrannyGrump: I've attached a screenshot of the new section that KevinH added to the Insert Special Characters dialog box. Are there any characters missing that you currently use clips for?
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Name:	SpecialCharacters.png
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:04 AM   #14
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@KevinH, @Doitsu

I have a question, is this meant that it will be possible to open two tables of special characters (existing and new with Greek and mathematical characters), or is the new table to replace an existing one?

Sorry for my bad English
Regards
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bravosx View Post
I have a question, is this meant that it will be possible to open two tables of special characters (existing and new with Greek and mathematical characters), or is the new table to replace an existing one?
I had to cut off the top of the dialog because of the MR image posting guidelines. I.e., all new characters will be displayed at the bottom of the existing Insert Special Characters dialog box.
Hopefully, you get to see the screen capture before it gets removed by a certain MR moderator.
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