In every phase of my life in which I've been required to create documents, a different set of symbols has been important to me.

For instance, in high school, I studied Spanish, which meant figuring out how to type ñ and ¿.  In college, as I repeatedly flirted with flunking German, I inserted a lot more of ä, ß, and ö.  And now that I work at Microsoft, my symbols of choice are © and ®.

That's one of the reasons I appreciate the Symbol gallery on the Insert tab of Word 12.  When I want a symbol, I just pop open the gallery and choose the one I want. 

And why is the one I want in there?  Because the gallery keeps track of the twenty most recently inserted symbols and offers one-click access to those.  As a result, I hardly ever have to visit the Symbols dialog box in Word.

Just another lightweight timesaver in Office 12 that keeps my focus on my document instead of on the user interface.

Edited: Somehow the symbols got lost in the automatic publishing...

P.S. Is ß really going away in common practice?  I always felt that the Eszett was an important part of what makes written German distinctive...