Check marks, dollars, copyright – when you write a text in Word, from time to time you need more than just the usual letters of the alphabet. However, many such special characters and symbols are not available on the keyboard, which has limited space for letters, numbers and some other keys. In Word there is therefore a symbol library, which contains all (special) characters of different fonts. You have several possibilities to insert them quickly and easily into your document. Either you do this manually over the menu or with the help of a key combination. Also the AutoCorrect of the program offers a useful function, how you can place special characters and symbols in Word.
Symbols and special characters in different fonts
A look into the symbol library is always worthwhile, because there you will find a large selection of Word special characters. Many fonts contain other characters besides the obligatory letters and numbers: These are, for example, different types of dashes, mathematical symbols, smileys, or letters that are only present in certain foreign languages.
The Wingdings font consists only of Word symbols. It used to function as a substitute for memory-intensive images, and even today it has a practical advantage: you can easily and appropriately integrate characters such as an e-mail symbol into the body text.
Inserting special characters via the symbol menu in Word
One way to insert characters into your text document is via the menu. To do this, proceed as follows:
1. Place the insertion point where you want the sign to be in the text.
2. Click on the "Insert" tab and then on the "Symbol" button.
3. If you select "more symbols", the special characters table will be opened. This window has two tabs; one for special characters and another for symbols.
4. Now you can choose a font. The program will then show you all symbols and special characters in a list.
5. Select the desired object and press "Insert" afterwards.
6. After that you can close the window and the character will appear at the selected position.
Word symbols and special characters that you use frequently or have used recently are placed first in the "Symbol" menu item. This is practical, because the requirements differ from person to person. While a financial accountant may need different currency signs more often, an interpreter may use foreign language letters more often.
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Inserting Word special characters with a key combination
a) Set your own keyboard shortcuts
How to create your own shortcuts in Word, we have already explained in a tutorial. But there is not only the possibility to set key combinations for functions, but also for certain symbols. If some characters do not exist on the keyboard, but you use them frequently in your texts, you can set up a shortcut for them. On the one hand, this makes your work easier, since you do not have to search for the special character in Word again and again. On the other hand, you will write faster once you have internalized the abbreviation. To define one or more shortcuts, do the following:
1. Click on the "Insert" tab again in the menu and then on "Symbol" as well as "Other symbols".
2. In the table select the appropriate sign.
3. Pressing the button "Key combination" opens a new window.
4. Under "new shortcut" you execute a shortcut command. Attention: If you want to set for example the command "Alt+Ctrl+e" for the currency symbol "€", press the corresponding combination. It is not possible to write the order in with letters. If your shortcut contains digits, you should also use the number pad on your keyboard.
5. Press "Assign. When you enter the key combination afterwards, leave the Alt key pressed until you have completely executed it. As soon as you release the keys, the object appears again.
b) Copy special characters in Word
You also have the possibility to copy signs and symbols. If they already exist in the text, select the desired object and copy it. You can either do this with the key combination "Ctrl+c" or you press the right mouse button and select the corresponding function. Then insert the special character again at the correct place in Word (either with a right click or the short command "Ctrl+v"). By the way, there are also various websites that provide symbols and characters for copying.
Automatically insert special characters and symbols in Word with AutoCorrect
Word’s AutoCorrect automatically changes some typos or errors in upper and lower case letters. But this function can do even more: There are some character or letter combinations that the program converts directly using AutoCorrect. If you write certain text modules, Word gives you a special character for it. Example: From a bracketed C ("(c)") the copyright sign (©), "->" automatically becomes "à".
You want to set your own commands? To do this, first click on "File", "Options" and "Document check", then on "AutoCorrection Options. Here you have the possibility to view the existing shortcuts, change them or add new ones.