Ergonis Software is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. In the beginning there was the first version of PopChar. It ran on a Mac Plus with System 6 and was soon acclaimed to be the best character finder on the Mac. Today, PopChar X 8.0 has been released. It’s a major new version of the company’s award-winning tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. With over 40 new features and improvements, it’s going to be the best PopChar ever.
One of my personal favourites is going to be PopChar 8’s new support for ligatures. Ligatures ensure that your “f” followed by an “l”, for example, looks great when printed by combining the characters into one combined form — often specially designed by the font designer.
PopChar finds all ligatures that are available in a font and shows them in a separate section at the bottom of the character table. Selecting a ligature inserts the character sequence that is translated into a special glyph in the current font.
One of the major new features of PopChar 8 is the possibility to create custom layouts. These allow you to arrange and group characters as you wish (or need). Popchar 8 comes with a number of built-in layouts, but you can create your own and Ergonis is also offering additional layouts for download from their extras page.
You can link fonts to your preferred Popchar layouts. This can be useful if you find that some layouts work better than others for specific fonts. For example, you can link the Apple Color Emoji font with the new built-in Emoji layout. That one neatly arranges and groups more than 1500 emojis defined in the Emoji 5.0 standard. Finding, exploring, and inserting emoji characters is easier that way.
Of course, PopChar’s emoji character table includes symbols that would otherwise be difficult to create, as they actually consist of multiple characters (for example, a “base character” modified by a symbol for a profession, a male/female symbol, and optionally a skin tone). With PopChar, you can just click and select. Finally, PopChar also supports Emoji Presentation Sequences for selecting the text or emoji form of characters that can have both presentations.
PopChar 8 no longer shows recently used characters in a separate layout, but displays them in a dedicated group at the top of the character table. That’s more efficient as you don’t have to switch back and forth between layouts anymore. Your recently used and favourite characters are both always at a convenient location in every layout.
PopChar 8 finally offers a long list of other new features and enhancements and improves compatibility with many third-party applications.