Insert a symbol, fraction, or special character

Sometimes you need to insert a character that’s not on your keyboard, like a foreign currency symbol, a trademark (™), or a fraction like 1/3. For a few symbols, you can use the AutoCorrect feature to type them. For all other symbols, go to Insert > Symbol.

AutoCorrect converts a series of keystrokes to symbols. Here are a few of the most commonly used ones.


To insert







To see other keystrokes that convert to symbols, click File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options and scroll down the list on the AutoCorrect tab. You can also create your own AutoCorrect character on the AutoCorrect tab by typing a keystroke in the Replace box, and typing what you want the keystroke to replace in the With box.

  1. To insert other symbols, click Insert > Symbol.

    Symbol command on the Insert tab

    The Symbol gallery opens, which contains among other symbols, additional foreign currency symbols.

  2. Select a symbol to insert it.

  3. To see additional symbols, click More Symbols at the bottom of the gallery. The Symbol dialog box opens.

    The Symbol box in Word

  4. Scroll through the list of characters to see all the symbols available in your current font (normal text) in the Font box. Notice as you scroll that the label in the Subset drop-down list changes. If you want to skip directly to the not-equal-to sign, for example, select Mathematical Operators in the Subset list.

    Subset box in the Symbol box

    Notes:  If you do not see the Subset drop-down list, look in the lower right corner of the dialog box, and, in the from list, select Unicode (hex).

    Unicode (hex) selected in the Symbol box

  5. If you don’t see what you want, select a different font in the Font box.

  6. When you see a symbol you want, click Insert > Close. If you don’t want to insert a symbol, click Cancel.

    Tip:  For text that looks like pictures, switch to one of the Wingding fonts in the Font box.

Insert a fraction

Some fractions (1/4, 1/2, and 3/4) automatically switch to a fraction character when you type them (¼, ½, ¾). But others do not (1/3, 2/3, 1/5, etc.).

  1. To switch to a fraction character, click Insert > Symbols > More Symbols.

  2. In the Subset drop-down list, click Number Forms and select a fraction.

  3. Click Insert > Close.


    • To find additional mathematical symbols, click AutoCorrect at the bottom of the Symbol dialog box. Click the Math AutoCorrect tab to see a list of keyboard shortcuts you can type into your document to insert math symbols. Be sure to select the Replace text as you type check box. Depending on where you are in the document, you may need to select the Use Math AutoCorrect rules outside of math regions option.

Insert a special character

  1. Click where you want to insert the special character.

  2. On the Insert tab, click Symbol, and then click More Symbols.

  3. In the Symbol dialog, click the Special Characters tab.

  4. Double-click the character that you want to insert.

  5. Click Close.

Insert an ASCII or Unicode character

When you select an ASCII (decimal) or Unicode character in the Symbol dialog box, its character code appears in the Character code box. If you already know the character code, you can type it directly into the Character code box to find the ASCII or Unicode character.

Note: Be sure that the correct character set — for example, ASCII (hex) — is selected in the from box. Otherwise, when you type a character code, the character that is displayed may not be the one you want.

The name that is displayed before the Character code box is the official character name in the ASCII or Unicode standard.

  1. Click where you want to insert the ASCII or Unicode character.

  2. On the Insert tab, click Symbol, and then click More Symbols.

  3. In the Font box, click the font that you want.

  4. In the from box, click ASCII (decimal), ASCII (hex), or Unicode.

  5. If the Subset box is available, select a character subset.

  6. Double-click the symbol that you want to insert.

  7. Click Close.

Note: To insert an ASCII (decimal) character without opening the Symbol dialog box, make sure that NUM LOCK is on. Then hold down the ALT key while you type 0 and the character code on the numeric keypad (not on the number keys on the top row of the keyboard). Then release the ALT key. Only ASCII (decimal) character codes can be typed into a publication.

See also

Insert mathematical symbols

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