Have you ever looked to see what symbol fonts are hiding in your computer?

If you're looking to make your own symbols for phone graphics, icons, emoticons or other size-challenged images, take a look at the fonts you have in your computer.

Symbol fonts are especially useful to get you started making two colour icons and logos. Symbol fonts are black, white and simple. They save a lot of space on tiny screens like phone displays by replacing lettering. Symbols very often have a powerful impact too. Think of the cross, the skull and crossbones - or even the smiley face.

Here are the symbol fonts I found on my Mac (Wingdings, Webdings and Zapfino.)

symbol fonts


In your word processor, type out the alphabet Do it in lower case and then in caps. Add the numbers and punctuation marks. (You only need do this once.)

Now copy-and-paste the whole lot several times.

Select each alphabet and apply a different special font.

See if you can add a normal letter underneath each symbol to show which key to press to call it up. This isn't always possible as the sizes differ, but it's worth a try. If you want to get fancy, you could try aligning them with a table.

Print the result and there you have a gallery of symbol reference. Basic shapes that you know people will immediately recognise. Most of them internationally understood. They're not for straight copying of course, but they make a good starting point when you're making your own free mini-graphics, especially where only a two-colour image will do.

Symbol fonts for free icon ideas

(c) Valerie Beeby 2000 - 2015

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