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Private Character Editor- Eudcedit
There is an accessory program called the Private Character Editor included with Windows XP that is quite obscure and little-known. It is used in conjunction with the Character Map previously discussed and provides a way to create your own characters.

The program is not usually listed in the Start- All Programs menu. The program file is eudcedit.exe and is in the system folder \Windows\System32\. (Incidentally, eudc stands for "end user defined characters"). To open the program, go to Start-Run and enter "eudcedit" (without quotes). Figure 1 shows the opening window. The grid shows the hexadecimal code that will be assigned to your new character. In Figure 1, a character with code E000 has already been created in the first box and the second box, whose hex number would be E001, has been selected.

Figure 1. Opening window

The next step is to click "OK" and the palette window (Figure 2), where you can draw a new character, will open. There is a toolbar on the left with some basic tools. Shown in the figure is the "pencil" used for freehand drawing. In addition to the toolbar, there is a "Tools" menu. Figure 3 shows the menu with a list of the available tools.

Figure 2. Palette for drawing a new character

The tools are similar to those in Paint and will be familiar to anyone who has used a graphics program.

Figure 3. Tools menu for palette

Figure 4 shows my shaky effort at making a character of my initials to put into e-mail as a signature. Those with a steadier hand and better calligraphy will be able to do a much nicer job. Keep in mind that the actual size of the palette is 50 pixels square. When making a custom character, you have the choice of associating the new character with a particular font family or with all fonts. If you choose a particular font family, your custom character will be available from there only. After you have drawn and edited the figure to your satisfaction, save the character. Note that the "Save Character" operation is in the "Edit" menu.

Figure 4. Drawing initials to make a custom character


The next  step in actually using the custom character is to open the Character Map. Thecharacter will be listed as "All Fonts (Private Characters)" or under a particular font-private characters if you chose that option. Figure 5 shows the Character Map display. Select the custom character and click "Copy". That places it in the clipboard where it can be pasted into any document in the regular way.

Figure 5. Character map with custom character displayed

Figure 6 shows the custom character pasted into an e-mail in Outlook Express. One thing to remember is that the regular operations applicable to a character hold (size, bold, italic, and so forth). In the figure the custom character is 20 point while the text is 10.

Figure 6. Custom character pasted into an e-mail.


Don't forget that custom characters will not be available to other systems unless they are installed there.

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