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Symbols and Special Characters in Word

Quite often in small business you’ll come across the need to use symbols or special characters in your word processing.  Whether it’s to insert a Copyright, Trademark or Registered symbol, or to add foreign currency symbols, we can sometimes be left wondering how best to tackle it.

In the following paragraphs, I’ll show you a couple of ways to insert these items quickly and easily into your Word documents, and you can choose the solution that fits you best.

Inserting Symbols in Word

  1. Click where you want to insert the symbol.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Symbols group, click Symbol.
  3. You can either:
    a)  Click the symbol that you want from the drop-down list; or
    b)  If the symbol that you want is not on the list, click More Symbols.  In the Font box, click the font that you want, click the symbol that you want to insert, and then click Insert.
  4. Click Close.

Inserting Special Characters in Word

  1. Click where you want to insert the special Character.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Symbols group, click Symbol, and then click More Symbols.
  3. Click on the Special Characters tab.
  4. Click the character that you want to insert, and then click Insert.
  5. Click Close.

Creating Symbols with Keystrokes

A number of regularly used symbols also have keystrokes assigned to them, or you can assign your own.  If using Microsoft Word with AutoCorrect turned on, typing (c) will insert the Copyright symbol, (r) will insert the Registered symbol, and ™ will insert a Trademark symbol.  Once these symbols have been inserted, go to the Font group on the Home tab and choose subscript xor superscript x2 accordingly.

There are also other keystrokes that will automatically insert symbols into your work. (Hold down the ALT key and type the numbers noted)

  • The degree sign °(ALT 0176)
  • Trade mark ™ (ALT 0153)
  • Copyright © (ALT 0169)
  • Registered ® (ALT 0174)
  • Upside down question mark ¿ (ALT 0191)
  • British pound £ (ALT 0163)
  • Yen ¥ (ALT 0165)
  • Euro € (ALT 0128)
  • Cent ¢ (ALT 0162)

Assigning Keystrokes to Symbols

If there’s a symbol that you use on a regular basis, it would be advisable to assign your own shortcut key.  This allows you to insert the symbol into your document using a keystroke, and bypassing the Symbol dialogue box altogether.

To do this, you:

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Symbols group, click Symbol, and then click More Symbols.
  2. Click on the symbol you wish to shortcut to, then click on the Shortcut Key button below the symbols, and a Customize Keyboard dialog box will appear.
  3. The cursor will be in the Press new shortcut key: box, and it is here that you will perform the keystroke you want to assign to the symbol.
  4. You can choose to assign this shortcut to the Normal template (the one upon which all future documents are based by default) or to the current document only.  Click on the drop down box beside Save changes in and highlight your choice.  Click Assign and Close.
  5. When the Symbol dialog box reappears, click Close or Cancel.

Your shortcut key is now ready for you to use and is easily accessible for all of your Word needs.

It might take a bit of practice and learning at first to find the solution that fits you best, but once you’ve got the knack, you’ll love how easy it is to deal with Trademarks, Copyrights, and Foreign Currencies without losing time in the typing.

Bauhinia Solutions Flower

There are many ways we can assist you with your business administration or marketing needs. Feel free to schedule a call with Nicole and explore how we can support you.

Written by: Nicole Graham


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Established in 2007, Bauhinia Solutions is a boutique virtual business support agency with a team of dedicated and experienced business specialists, administrators, and virtual assistants.