Whether you're a student preparing a research paper, a business executive composing an important project proposal, or a tourist jotting down memories of your latest vacation, a keyboard symbols glossary can be a helpful reference tool.
Working with Keyboard Symbols Using Alt Codes
Although a standard computer keyboard contains all of the letters, numbers, and punctuation you need for most compositions, there are times when you may find yourself searching for a special symbol that isn't readily available on your keyboard. For example, résumé, home décor, tête-à-tête, and à la carte are words you may use when writing in English that still require special accented characters. If you are writing about a particular product, you may also find yourself in need of the copyright (©), registered (®), or trademark (™) symbols.
In most computer education classes, students are taught to create these keyboard symbols using Alt codes. When creating keyboard symbols with this method, remember the following points:
- The Num Lock key needs to be on.
- When entering the numbers for the codes, you need to use the number keypad to the right of your keyboard. The codes won't work with the numbers on the top of the keyboard.
- Alt codes should work with most standard fonts, but may not be compatible with some of the decorative free fonts you can download online.
- Alt codes will work in Microsoft Word, but may not work in some other word processing programs.
- Cents (¢) is Alt, 0, 1, 6, 2
- One-half (½) is Alt, 0, 1, 8, 9
- Copyright (©) is Alt, 0, 1, 6, 9
- Trademark (™) is Alt, 0, 1, 5, 3
- Registered (®) is Alt, 0, 1, 7, 4
- Bullet (
- Ellipsis (...) is Alt, 0, 1, 3, 3
- "N" Dash ( - ) is Alt, 0, 1, 5, 0
- "M" Dash ( - ) is Alt, 0, 1, 5, 1
- Paragraph (Pilcrow) ( ¶ ) is Alt, 0, 1, 8, 2
- Pound (£) is Alt 0, 1, 6, 3
- Euro ( € ) is Alt, 0, 1, 2, 8
- French accent (à) is Alt, 0, 2, 2, 4
- French accent (ç) is Alt, 0, 2, 3, 1
- French accent (è) is Alt, 0, 2, 3, 2
- French accent (é) is Alt, 0, 2, 3, 3
- French accent (ê) is Alt, 0, 2, 3, 4
- German accent (ü) is Alt, 0, 2, 5, 2
- Spanish accent (ñ) is Alt, 0, 2, 4, 1
- Mesweet has a convenient printable reference of the most common keyboard symbols.
- Ted Montgomery has compiled a fairly extensive list of keyboard symbols, including codes for hearts, stars, and other decorative shapes.
- Oratory lists Alt codes for keyboard symbols in numerical order.
- Color Your Profile has codes for keyboard symbols that are commonly used in IMs, online profiles, Web pages, and personal emails.
The Windows Character Map
If you find the Alt codes for creating keyboard symbols inconvenient to use, you may want to try exploring the features of the Windows Character Map. This handy tool allows you to view all of the special characters that are available on your computer according to which font you wish to use before copying and pasting the correct symbol into your document.
You can find the Character Map on your computer by going to All Programs--Accessories--System Tools--Character Map. Detailed instructions for how to use this feature can be found on the Computer Education Web site.