In a previous tutorial, we have shared how easy it is to insert private characters with Character Map. But, what about making your own special characters in Windows? Yes, you can do that. In this guide, I will show how to create and save your unique symbols using Private Character Editor. They can be inserted into any document, whenever you need. Let’s see how it works.
NOTE: You can run Private Character Editor only if you are logged in as Administrator.
How to Start the Private Character Editor in Windows 7
There are several ways to find the Private Character Editor. You can go to "Start Menu -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Private Character Editor".
Alternatively, you can write the word "private" in the Start Menu search box and choose Private Character Editor.
The Private Character Editor application will open and look similar to the screenshot below.
How to Start the Private Character Editor in Windows 8
In Windows 8, the Private Character Editor is not accessible from the All Apps list on the Start screen.
However, you can use search to find it. While on the Start screen, type the word "character" and filter the results by Settings.
Then, click or tap the Private Character Editor search result.
Alternatively, you can use File Explorer and open the partition where Windows 8 is installed (in most cases it is the "C:" drive). The, go to C:\Windows\System32 and look for the eudcedit.exe file. Double click or tap on it to open the Private Character Editor. If you want to, you can even pin this file to the Start screen or the taskbar, for faster access.
To learn how to pin items to the Start screen, read this tutorial: The Complete Guide to Pinning Everything to the Windows 8 Start Screen.
Below you can see how the program looks in Windows 8.
There’s isn’t any meaningful difference when compared with the Windows 7 version of the tool.
How to Select the Hexa Code for Your New Character
The first thing that you are requested, is to choose a hexadecimal code for the new symbol you are about to create. That’s because each character in a font has a hexadecimal code to identify it.
Therefore, your new character must be also identified by a code. If you choose the first box, the code will be E000, if you choose the box from the second column and the first row, the code will be E001 and so on. It's up to you what code you choose for your new character.
When you open the Private Character Editor for the first time, the whole grid is empty. After you create a character, you will see it in the corresponding box. For example, I have previously created 2 symbols: one with the code E040 and the other one with E041. Now each box shows the associated character.
Once you have chosen the hexadecimal code, you are free to create your own character.
How to Use the Tools Available for Creating a New Character
Your canvas is a 50x50 grid in which you can draw anything you like, as you do in Paint. Private Character Editor gives you 10 tools to create a character.
The tools can be found on the left side of the window, or by going to "Tools -> Item".
The default tool is the Pencil. Using it you can only draw on one square at a time.
If you want to draw 2x2 squares, use the second tool, named the Brush.
For lines, just like those in Paint, use the Straight Line tool. Hold down the left mouse button in the point where you want the line to start and release it at the line's end.
To draw rectangles of any type and size, use the Hollow Rectangle.
If you want your rectangles to be filled, try the Filled Rectangle tool.
The Rectangular Selection tool allows you to select a rectangle shaped area. Click in the middle of the selected area to move it or drag it's corners and sides to change it's shape.
The Free Form Selection works like the Rectangular Selection tool, only that you can choose any shape you want to be selected.
The Eraser tool will remove 2x2 areas of drawing.
As you would expect from any similar tool, you can cut, copy, paste or delete a selection. To do so, go to Edit and choose the option you need.
How to Use Existing Characters to Create Your Own Characters
The Private Character Editor allows you to select a pre-existing symbol to be used as reference for your new character. Go to "Window -> Reference" to choose a character.
Click the Font button to choose the font.
Select the font and the font style and press OK.
Then, select the character you want to use as a reference and press OK. The reference symbol is opened in a new 50x50 grid, on the right-hand side.
You can select any part of the reference character and copy it to your symbol. Select the area you are interested in and drag it on your canvas. You should be aware of the fact that you cannot modify the reference symbol.
Once you have finished working with a reference character, go to "Window -> Close reference" to close the symbol.
If you want your new character to be based on an existing character, the Private Character Editor gives you the option to copy it on the canvas. This will replace completely what you already have drawn. Go to "Edit -> Copy Character".
Click the Font button and select the desired font and font style. Click OK.
Then, select the character you want to copy and click OK. It will appear on your canvas and you will be able to edit it.
Once you have made your edits, you can save it as a new character.
How to Save a Character and Link it with a Font
Private Character Editor allows you to link your character to either all fonts or a specific font. By doing this, the character is added to the selected font(s). To do this, go to "File -> Font Links".
You are first asked if you want to save your character. Click Yes.
If you want to link the character with all fonts, select the "Link with All Fonts" option and press OK.
If you want to link your character to one or more specific fonts, choose "Link with Selected Fonts", in the Font Links window. Select, one by one the desired fonts, click "Save as" and choose a name for your custom character.
After you have chosen the name, it will be displayed as a character available with the font(s) you have selected. Press OK and you are done.
Now that you linked your character to a font, it is time to save it. Go to "Edit -> Save Character".
If you want to save it using a different hexa code, go to "Edit -> Save Character As".
Choose the new hexadecimal code as its identifier and click OK.
How to Edit a Previously Created Character
To edit a character you previously designed, go to "Edit -> Select Code".
From the grid, pick the box associated with the character and click OK.
The character is now opened and you can use the tools mentioned in the sections above to edit it.
How to View and Use Your Custom Character
To see and then copy the new character you created into a document, open Character Map.
NOTE: Close Private Character Editor before searching for your symbol in Character Map. Otherwise it won't work.
From the Fonts drop-down box, select "All Fonts (Private Characters)".
To find your new symbol in the Character Map, select (Private Characters). For example, I've saved my symbol in the Arial font, so I will find it under Arial (Private Characters).
Now you can copy and paste it to any document, as shown in our Character Map guide.
Test your designer skills and creativity by creating a new symbol with the Private Character Editor. Play with each of the tools and options described in this tutorial to see how easy it is to make a character. Next, insert your new characters into documents and give them a touch of originality.