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,
- Press the Alt key to the left of the space bar at the bottom of your keyboard. Hold it down.
- Press the Numeric Lock (Num Lock) key on the numeric keypad on the right-hand side of the keyboard.
- While holding down the Alt key, type the code for the symbol you want to appear on the numeric keypad.
- 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.