How To: Use Symbols and Special Characters in Word

Although almost every special character and symbol is available through a keyboard command, it is nearly impossible to remember all of them. For example, the shortcut for the pound symbol (£) is Alt+0163 in the numeric pad. There are hundreds of such commands and there is no way to remember all of them. Fortunately, Word gives you a window with all of the available special commands plus an easy way to assign shortcuts to the ones you use the most.

Finding the Symbols


Open up a word document and go to the Insert tab from the top. You will see a Symbol option in the far right. Click on it and choose the “More Symbols” option. Here you will be able to view all of the symbols you are looking for plus many that you probably did not even know existed. You can easily navigate the symbol categories via the dropdown menu on the top right for fast access. The good thing about this window is that you can continue editing your word document without closing the window. Inserting a symbol will not close the window either so you can use it as much as you want before closing it.

Assigning shortcuts


There are two ways to assign shortcuts:

1: Right click on the top toolbar in a Word document. Choose the “Customize the Ribbon” option. In the bottom left of the screen you will see a “Keyboard shortcuts” option. This will give you the option of assigning shortcuts to both symbols and various actions.

2: The easy way. The Symbols window has its own shortcut creation option. Simply click on a symbol you want and then click on the Shortcut Key option. This will bring up a separate window. Click on the “Press new shortcut key” option and then hit your desired shortcut keys. Click on Assign and you are done.