What does the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+8 does in Mathematica (version 10)? On Windows 8.1 it displays a little square:

enter image description here

I can write in it, but I don't understand what it does.

  • $\begingroup$ does nothing apparent on windows 7. $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


I think this is supporting another visual form of typing code into mathmatica. Just have a look under Menu - Palettes - Basic Math Assistant. There you can figure out some of them.

  • $\begingroup$ It looks like it is a way to insert text that won't be treated as a mathematical equation. $\endgroup$
    – mattiav27
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 8:19

There are 3 verry helpfull Topics on Help;

Keyboard Shortcut Listing

with some more links on the verry end of the page

See "Letters and Letter-like Forms", "Operators", "Notational Alphabet Characters", and "Special Characters" for more information on the Wolfram Language's special characters.

Notebook Shortcuts

The Wolfram System's interface is carefully optimized for both menu and keyboard use—with many convenient ergonomic features, including some that are not immediately visible from menus.

Special Characters

The Wolfram Language not only has systemwide support for arbitrary Unicode characters, but also includes nearly a thousand carefully designed characters for mathematical notation and technical presentation—all fully integrated into the Wolfram Language's input, output, and graphics.

On 10.0 for Mac OS X x86 (64-bit) (December 4, 2014) this looks like

\[EmptySquare] or \[Square]

see EmptySquare and Square

It also has precisely on this forum a lot of good information on the topic "custom shortcut" see How can I change the keyboard shortcut for switching the active window?, this may also be an indication for further search.


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