Inserting special Symbols in Word

Although the keyboard usually has the most commonly used characters available either with a key of its own, or by using a combination of keys, there are many more characters and symbols available for you to use.

The special characters and symbols available in Word depend on the font you are using. Most fonts include special characters for currencies, fractions, etc, and there are also a few fonts specifically for symbols, such as telephone icons, scientific symbols, arrows and check boxes. These symbols can also be used with Autocorrect, making them easier to insert. View the September 2015 issue for instructions on that.

Click in the place in your document where you want the symbol to be inserted and go to the Insert Tab. Click on the Symbol dropdown list and you will see a list of common symbols and characters you have recently used. If the symbol you want to use is available in this list, simply click it to insert it.

To access more symbols, click the “More Symbols” link on the Symbols dropdown list and the Symbols window will open. In the Font dropdown list, set it to “(normal text)” to display the characters included in the font you are using, which usually includes international symbols and other basic symbols such as the copyright symbol and fractions.

If you want special symbols, such as telephones, check boxes and arrows, click the Font dropdown list in the symbol windows and select one of the Wingdings or Webdings fonts which, because the list is in alphabetical order, are near the bottom of the list. Each one of these fonts have different symbols available.

If there is a symbol you use often, you can also assign a shortcut key. Locate the symbol in the Symbol window and click on it. Next click the Shortcut button, and press a combination of keys to use as a shortcut for this symbol, preferably using both the CTRL and ALT keys to avoid using a shortcut assigned to something else. Finally, click the Assign button.