Recover from a misplaced Character Palette window

Rob Griffiths
10 October, 2008
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Here’s a situation you may run into if you occasionally use your Mac with an external monitor, and use the Character Palette (Edit -> Special Characters in many programs, or via the flag icon in your menubar, via the Show Character Palette menu item).

Here’s what happens…you connect your external monitor, open the Character Palette, and drag it to your external monitor. You close the Character Palette when you’re done with it, then later, disconnect the external monitor.

The next time you open the Character Palette—depending on how you had the external monitor positioned when it was attached—you may find that the top of the Character Palette is above your menu bar, making it impossible to move the window. So how do you fix this, short of installing a utility like MercuryMover? There are a couple ways to solve this problem, and both involve quitting the application that’s displaying the Character Palette.

If you’re not Terminal-adverse, it’s the quickest way to solve the problem. Open Terminal, then type killall CharPaletteServer and press Return. The other way to quit this program is by using Activity Monitor (in Applications -> Utilities). Click on the Process Name column header to sort by process name, then look for CharPaletteServer in the list. Click once on it, then click the Quit Process button in the toolbar. This will open a new dialog box; click Quit in that dialog to stop the CharPaletteServer process.

When the process quits, the Character Palette window will vanish. When you next open it, it should appear at its default location, with the top of the window fully visible on your screen.

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