Type a lot of science and math content?  Then you need these symbols for your smartphone.

Update: please see this newer post where I explain how to type symbols efficiently.

Quite often I am composing something on my phone when I find the keyboard is missing a symbol that I need (superscripts, subscripts, mathematical operators etc). So I then have to wait till I’m at my Mac to continue/finish off. Chances are if you are in a science or maths related job you’ll have this problem too.

The interesting thing is that whilst my iPhone keyboard doesn’t offer many of the symbols I need the phone itself can actually work with them if I provide them some other way. The usual method I have used is to type the symbols into Evernote and sync them to the Evernote app on my phone. There are other methods too: Pages or Word docs, email, SMS etc.

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Once the symbols are on the phone they can be copy and pasted to where you need them. So for example let’s say I need to type the kinetic energy equation. I could type a really messy version: KE = 1/2 mv^2. Or I could type this much lovelier version: KE = ½mv². ✓ Yes I did just produce that second version with my iPhone (I am writing this entire post on my phone).

There are still limits to what can be done. For example on a desktop superscript and subscript letters can be typed, but it’s not possible to produce them on a phone (unless you’re using something like a LaTex processor). This leads me to a caveat about superscripts and subscripts.

On desktops these are produced by using modifier keys and typing the required letters. Once synced/sent to a phone those letters cease being super/subscript. In order to use super/subscripts on a phone you will need to use those symbols available in the respective character viewer.

In order to save you the process of typing out all of the symbols you need I am making my list available via an Evernote note. It should prove to be at least a good starting point. It will open in a web browser (desktop or mobile). If you use Evernote yourself you can add the note to your app. If you don’t use Evernote you can copy and paste the list into whatever format suits you. I hope the list useful for you.

Have you ever run into this problem of needing a symbol which is absent from your phone?

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