Did you ever want to put a special character like the cent sign (¢) or the British pound sign (£) into a document or email? Or use the correct symbols for Spanish or other languages? Regular users of word processing programs like Microsoft Word probably already know how to do this but many average PC users are not aware that easy methods of inserting special characters are readily available.
There are several methods and in this tip I’ll describe an old standby. From the early days of Windows, it has been possible to use the numeric keypad with Num Lock enabled to insert a variety of characters using some simple codes. (Be aware that these codes differ from the HTML versions.) The general procedure goes like this:
- Place the insertion point (cursor) in the document location where you want the special character
- Hold down the Alt key
- Type the appropriate four-number code from the numeric keypad. The first digit is always a zero. Be sure Num Lock is enabled.
- Release the Alt key
A few examples of the codes are given in the table below. Note that they all begin with zero and differ from HTML codes. More examples can be found at this link and a detailed list at this link. These particular codes date back to an old coding system called ISO Latin 1 and go no higher than 0255. But there is a huge assortment of characters and symbols in what is known as Unicode and I will discuss them in Part II. In the meantime, the numeric keypad gives you quite a variety of symbols and characters to add to your documents.
|inverted question mark||¿||0191|
|capital C, cedilla||Ç||0199|
|small c, cedilla||ç||0231|
|small n, tilde||ñ||0241|
If you have one of the smaller or older laptops that lack a numeric keypad, you can probably activate similar functions with an Fn key or other method. Check your instructions or help function.
Part II describes ways to add even more symbols to your documents.
More information: Add Custom Characters to Documents Using the Numeric Keypad
This tip applies to the American version of all current Windows editions and may or may not be relevant to other language distributions or systems with other keyboard layouts.
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