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How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts to Symbols

written by: goaskdebbie•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 3/11/2011

If you've ever needed to type a Special Character, you may know about the "Insert" option or the "Special Character" keyboard. However, did you know there are keyboard shortcuts to symbols?

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    Introduction

    ALT Keyboard Shortcuts 

    Here is an abbreviated list of ALT key function combinations that will display symbols and special characters. All of these will work in any Office program (ie: Word, Excel, etc).

    But, you may be asking yourself, "Why would this help me?"

    It could help for many reasons. Let's say you are a math teacher and need to write some math equations. Using the ALT keyboard shortcuts, math teachers can easily type exponents without the need for the "Insert" tab or the need to change the exponent characters to superscript fonts. The math teacher could simply type "R" and then press the "ALT" key and the number 739 to insert the "x" power.

    The end result would be the following: "Rˣ"

    Image credit: Go Ask Debbie

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    ALT Keyboard Shortcut Examples

    ALT + 1 – 23 provide shortcuts to smiley faces, card suits, musical notes, and more.

    ☺ ☻ ♥ ♦ ♣ ♠ • ◘ ○ ◙ ♂ ♀ ♪ ♫ ☼ ► ◄ ܛ ¶ § ▬ ²

    ALT + 24 - 27 return arrows.

    ↑↓→←

    ALT + 28 – 59 return arrows, numbers, and currency symbols.

    ∟↔▲▼ !"#$%&'()*+,-./0123456789;

    ALT + 97 – 122 are keyboard shortcuts to the English alphabet and most likely will not need to be used, as you could use the keyboard.

    abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

    ALT + 123 – 127 provide shortcuts to various symbols like the parenthesis.

    {|}~⌂

    ALT + 128 – 168 provide shortcuts to foreign letters with accent marks and foreign currency symbols.

    ÇüéâäàåçêëèïîìÄÅÉæÆôöòûùÿÖÜ¢£¥₧ƒáíóúñѪº¿

    ALT + 169 – 172 provides shortcuts to math symbols.

    ⌐¬½¼

    ALT + 173 – 223 provide shortcuts to create various line shapes. These shortcuts, used in combination, can create various shapes and puzzles.

    ¡ « » ░ ▒ ▓ │ ╢ ╖ ╕ ╣ ║ ╗ ╝ ╜ ╛ ┐└ ┴ ┬ ├ ─ ┼ ╞ ╟ ╚ ╔ ╩ ╦ ╠ ═ ╬ ╧ ╨ ╤ ╥ ╙ ╘ ╒ ╓ ╫ ╪ ┘ ┌ █ ▄ ▌ ▐ ▀

    ALT + 224 – 238 provide shortcuts to the Greek alphabet

    αßΓπΣσµτΦΘΩδ∞φε

    ALT + 239 – 254 provide shortcuts to advanced math symbols.

    ∩ ≡ ~+mn~ ≥ ≤ ⌠ ⌡ ÷ ≈ ° ∙ · √ ⁿ ²

    ALT + 256 – 382 provide shortcuts to foreign letters with accent symbols

    ĀāĂ㥹ĆćĈĉĊċČčĎďĐđĒēĔĕĖėĘęĚěĜĝĞğġĢģĤĥĦħĨĩĪīĬĭĮįİıIJijĴĵĶķĸĹĺĻļĽľĿŀŁłŃńŅņŇňʼnŊŋŌŎŏŐőŒœŔŕŖŗŘřŚśŜŝŞşŠšŢţŤťŦŧŨũŪūŬŭŮůŰűŲųŴŵŶŷŸŹźŻżŽž

    ALT + 450 – 462

    ǂǃDŽDždžLJLjljNJNjnjǍǎ

    ALT + 600 – 612

    ɘəɚɛɜɝɞɟɠɡɢɣɤ

    ALT + 650 – 659

    ʊʋʌʍʎʏʐʑʐʑʓ

    ALT + 700 - 720

    ʼʽʾʿˀˁ˂˃˄˅ˆˇˈˉˊˋˌˍˎˏː

    ALT + 721 – 740 provide shortcuts to various math and superscript characters and symbols.

    ˑ˒˓˔˕˖˗˘˙˚˛˜˝˞˟ˠˡˢˣˤ

    ALT + 741 – 760 return even more lines, arrows, and other shapes.

    ˥ ˦ ˧ ˨ ˩ ˪ ˫ ˬ ˭ ˮ ˯˰˱˲˳˴˵˶˷˸

    ALT + 800 – 871 provide keyboard shortcuts to unusual shapes and symbols. Some of these might be used to create smiley faces, eyes, or vowels in superscript.

    ̠ ̡ ̢ ̣ ͒ ͓ ͔ ͕ ͖ ͗ ͘ ͙ ͚ ͛ ͜ ͝ ͞ ͞ ͟ ͠ ͡ ͢ ͣ ͤ ͥ ͦ ͧ

    ALT + 950 – 970 return other foreign characters.

    ζηθικλμνξοπρςστυφχψωϊ

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    Summary

    There are many other keyboard shortcuts available in Microsoft Office. For some helpful Outlook 2007 keyboard shortcuts, read this article. Try these and any other numeric combination with the "ALT" key and see what appears.

    A common example of using these ALT keyboard shortcuts is when users need to use the "é" in a Word document. In this case, press the ALT key plus the number 130 and the symbol will appear correctly with the accent symbol above the letter e.

    When you don't use special characters, the word can take on an entirely different meaning. This is especially true when typing foreign language words. Using Office Special Characters can make you look like you know what you're doing. Using keyboard shortcuts to symbols will make you look like an expert!

    HINT: These Special Characters may also work in Internet forms and pages.

    There's no need to learn or memorize all of them. However, if you use five or ten all the time, then memorize those and make your life easier.

    If you use an iPhone, these Top 10 Keyboard Shortcuts are helpful tips and tricks to using your iPhone more efficiently.

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    References

    Debbie McCusker is MOUS Certified and has been training on Microsoft Office products for more than 20 years.