How to insert symbols into Word documents

It’s easy to insert symbols into Microsoft Word documents and make your report or article look professional by inserting symbols and special characters as needed.

For example, you can include currency symbols (euro (€) or Japanese yen (¥) while reporting financials, and report the temperature at your location as 80 degrees Fahrenheit rather than looking less professional by typing 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Insert symbols into Word documents

Have you tried entering 27°C? – You can’t just do it from your normal keyboard range, no matter how hard you try.

To enter such symbols and special characters, you must use the numeric keypad (located on the right side of the keyboard) and use 4-digit numeric codes that represent these symbols and special characters.

Let’s start with an example of writing 27°C using your keyboard’s numeric keypad and the special character code ALT+0176, which represents the degree sign.

1. Make sure, that number lock key on the numeric keypad is on. You can turn it on by pressing the Num Lock button.

Although Num Lock is usually on by default, you can reconfirm this by looking for a light or indicator on your keyboard that says Num Lock is on (most keyboards have this type of indicator).

If your keyboard doesn’t have a light or indicator, see if you can use the numeric keypad to enter numbers. When Num Lock is on, you can enter numbers using the numeric keypad.

2. Open a new Microsoft Word document, an existing one will do.

3. Write the number 27 and place your cursor where you want to insert the ° degree symbol.

4. Hold down the alt” button (usually found next to the spacebar)

5. Enter the four-digit code (0176) for the desired special character via the numeric keypad.

Note: You have to use those Numeric keyboard on your keyboard to enter the 4-digit codes. You just can’t get this to work by typing the codes with the regular number keys at the top of the keyboard.

Insert degree symbol in Word

6. After typing 0176Free that alt” button – the special character (degree symbol °) appears as soon as you release the ALT key.

1. Windows Alt key codes for commonly used symbols

Now that you’re all excited, you can practice inserting some of these most commonly used math, currency, and other symbols, and get used to using these symbols and special characters in your reports.

Alt + 0177 gives ± (plus or minus sign to indicate tolerance)
Alt + 0247 gives ÷ (division)
Alt + 0178 gives ² (squared to show area measurements)
Alt + 0179 gives ³ (rolled to show volume measurements)
Alt + 0188 gives ¼ (a quarter)
Alt + 0189 gives ½ (half)
Alt + 0190 gives ¾ (three quarters)

Alt + 0162 gives ¢ (cent sign)
Alt + 0163 gives £ (British pound)
Alt + 36 gives $ (US dollars)
Alt + 0128 gives € (Euro)
Alt + 0165 gives ¥ (Japanese Yen)

Alt + 0169 returns © (Copyright)
Alt + 0174 results in ® (registered)
Alt + 0153 gives ™ (trademark)

2. Insert the degree symbol in Word by using the Symbol tab

Another way to insert symbols into Word documents is to access the library of symbols and special characters readily available in Microsoft Word.

Using the same example again, we’ll try to write 27°C, this time using the Symbols tab in Microsoft Word.

1. First write the number 27 and place your cursor where you want to insert the ° degree symbol (see image in step 3 below).

2. search for insertion tab that you will find next to the Home tab and click on it.


3. Next, look for the symbol Tab (far right of your screen) and click on it.

Insert Symbols tab in Microsoft Word

4. Choose ° Degree symbol from the Symbols and Special Characters drop-down list.

Which method do you think is easier? In our view, access to symbols and special characters from Word’s built-in library saves you the trouble of memorizing codes.

While using 4-digit character codes allows you to continue using the keyboard without pausing to access your mouse, it also trains your memory and might make you look geeky.


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