How to Make Symbols with your Keyboard

How to Make Symbols with Your Keyboard - colorful symbols

In most instances, creating text in Windows at your desktop or laptop computer is self-explanatory. Once in a while, however, you need to a character that is not found on the regular keyboard. To type a special character such as the trademark symbol ™, an arrow →, or a music note ♪, use alt codes (also referred to as symbol codes).

To put a special character on your page,

  1. Press the Alt key to the left of the space bar at the bottom of your keyboard. Hold it down.

computer keyboard featuring the alt key

  1. Press the Numeric Lock (Num Lock) key on the numeric keypad on the right-hand side of the keyboard.

numeric keypad

  1. While holding down the Alt key, type the code for the symbol you want to appear on the numeric keypad.
  2. Release the Alt key, and the character will appear.

Here is a list of often-used alt codes you may find helpful:

Alt + 0149   •  bullet point
Alt + 0153   ™  trademark symbol
Alt + 0169  ©  copyright symbol
Alt + 0174  ®  registered ­ trademark symbol
Alt + 0176  °  degree symbol
Alt + 0177   ±  plus-or-minus sign
Alt + 0182   ¶  paragr­aph mark
Alt + 0190  ¾  fractio­n, three-fourths
Alt + 0215  ×  multi­plication sign
Alt + 0162  ¢  the ­ cent sign
Alt + 0161  ¡  upside down exclamation point
Alt + 0191  ¿  ­upside down question mark
Alt + 1  ☺  smiley face
Alt + 2  ☻  black smiley face
Alt + 15  ☼  sun
Alt + 12  ♀  female sign
Alt + 11  ♂  m­ale sign
Alt + 6  ♠  Spade
Alt + 5  ♣  Club
Alt + 3  ♥  Heart
Alt + 4  ♦  ­Diamond
Alt + 13  ♪  e­ighth note
Alt + 14  ♫  ­beamed eighth note
Alt + 8721   ∑   N-ary summation (auto sum)
Alt + 251  √  square root check mark
Alt + 8236  ∞   ­infinity
Alt + 24  ↑  up arrow
Alt + 25  ↓  down arrow
Alt + 26  →  ri­ght arrow
Alt + 27  ←  l­eft arrow
Alt + 18  ↕  u­p/down arrow
Alt + 29  ↔  lef­t right arrow

There are many more alt codes you may want to utilize, including extensive alt codes for foreign language letters, mathematics, currency, and coding. Using alt codes can enhance the precision of your writing and offer a new avenue for creativity.

Read my other “How To…” articles for more practical tips.

About Brian Loebig

Owner of, author of, and part-time Technology Manager for the Alliance for Performance Excellence, Brian has over 15 years of experience working in the quality improvement, human services and technology fields as an administrator and consultant. Brian has also worked as a practitioner and administrator in the corrections, substance abuse and human services fields with a special emphasis on technology. He continues to work with numerous community-based non-profits as a web technology consultant, board member and volunteer. Feel free to .
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2 Responses to How to Make Symbols with your Keyboard

  1. The list of often-used alt codes is helpful. Thank you!

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