Insert a check mark or other symbol

You can easily insert a check mark (also known as a "tick mark"), fraction, or other symbol in your Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel workbooks.

The most important thing to understand when inserting symbols, fractions, special characters, or international characters is that the font you use is critical. Not all fonts have the same characters in them, for example the Elephant font has no fraction characters in it while Verdana does. As a result it's important to use the right font to find the symbol or character you want.

What do you want to insert?

If you want to use the ASCII or Unicode character codes to insert the characters from the keyboard see: Insert a check mark or other symbol using the keyboard with ASCII or Unicode character codes.

These marks are static symbols. If you're looking for an interactive check box that you can click on to check or uncheck, see: Add a check box or option button (Excel) or Make a checklist in Word.

Symbol such as currency (¥), music (♫), or check marks (✔)

  1. Place your cursor in the file at the spot where you want to insert the symbol.

  2. On the Insert tab, click Symbol.

    Symbol command on the Insert tab
  3. If you see the symbol you want listed on that gallery, just click it to insert. Otherwise, click More Symbols to open the Symbol dialog box

    List of the special characters available as part of the Wingdings font.
  4. Scroll up or down to find the symbol you want to insert.

    Different font sets often have different symbols in them and the most commonly used symbols are in the Segoe UI Symbol font set. Use the Font selector above the symbol list to pick the font you want to browse through.

  5. When you find the symbol you want, double-click it. The symbol will be inserted in your file. You can click Close now unless you want to insert additional symbols.

Tip: If you want to make your symbol larger or smaller, select it and use the Font Size setting.

If you're going to insert the same symbol often, consider setting up AutoCorrect to insert it for you. You can find more info about that here: Insert a check mark or other symbol using AutoCorrect.

A special character like em dashes or section marks (§)

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

  2. Click Insert > Symbol > More Symbols.

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

    On the "Special Characters" tab, click the "Nonbreaking Space" row to highlight it, and then click "Insert."
  4. Double-click the character that you want to insert.

    Tip: Many of the special characters have shortcut keys associated with them. If you want to insert that special character again in the future, just press the shortcut key. ALT+CTRL+C inserts the Copyright symbol (©), for example.

  5. Click Close when you're finished inserting special characters.

Fractions (1/3, 2/5)

Some fractions (1/4, 1/2, and 3/4) automatically switch to a fraction character (¼, ½, ¾) when you type them. But others do not (1/3, 2/3, 1/5, etc.) so if you want to insert those as symbols you'll need to use the insert symbol process.

  1. Click where you want to insert the fraction.

  2. Click Insert > Symbol > More Symbols.

  3. In the Subset dropdown, choose Number Forms.

    Select Number Forms in the Subset dialog to show fractions and other math symbols

    Note: Not all fonts have a number forms subset. If you don't see the number forms subset available for your font you will have to use a different font, such as Calibri, to insert the fraction character.

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

  5. Click Close.

Only a handful of common fractions have a symbol that you can substitute. For more unusual fractions, such as 8/9, you can approximate the symbol by setting the numerator as superscript and the denominator as subscript. For more information see Insert subscript or superscript text.

International Characters like ¿ or ü

If you plan to type in other languages often you should consider switching your keyboard layout to that language. You can find more information about that at Enable or change a keyboard layout language.

For one-off characters there are almost always keyboard shortcuts in Office to do that. For example:

  • CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+? inserts a ¿

  • CTRL+SHIFT+~ followed immediately by "a" will insert ã.

  • CTRL+SHIFT+: followed immediately by "u" will insert ü.

For the complete guide to using the keyboard to insert international characters see: Keyboard shortcuts for international characters.

Insert a check mark or other symbol using the keyboard with ASCII or Unicode character codes

You can also use the character code of the symbol as a keyboard shortcut. Symbols and special characters are either inserted using ASCII or Unicode codes. You can tell which is which when you look up the code for the character.

  1. Go to the Insert tab of the ribbon and click Symbol > More Symbols just like you were going to insert the symbol using the dialog box.

  2. Scroll up or down the list to find the symbol you want; note that you might have to change the font or the subset to locate it.

    Tip: The Segoe UI Symbol font has a very large collection of Unicode symbols to choose from.

  3. Towards the bottom right you'll see boxes for Character code and a from:. The character code is what you'll enter to insert this symbol from the keyboard and the from: tells you what kind of character it is. If from: says "Unicode (hex)" it's a Unicode character. If from: says "Symbol (Decimal)" then it's an ASCII character.

The from field tells you that this is a Unicode symbol
Unicode

Unicode

The from field tells you that this is an ASCII symbol

ASCII

ASCII

Inserting Unicode Characters

  1. Type the character code where you want to insert the Unicode symbol.

  2. Press ALT+X to convert the code to the symbol.

Tips: 

  • If you don't get the character you expected, make sure you have the correct font selected.

  • If you're placing your Unicode character immediately after another character, for example you place a 0300 code immediately after the letter "a" like this "a0300" Word may think you're trying to insert a character with a 5-character code - "a0300". But if you actually wanted just the 0300 converted to a character what you can do is select the 0300 with your mouse before pressing ALT+X. Then Word will only convert the selected text - 0300 - to a character (in this case "à")̀̀̀.

Inserting ASCII Characters

Notes: 

  • You need to use the numeric keypad on your keyboard to type the numbers; this won't work if you use the numbers across the top of your keyboard. Make sure that Num Lock is on when you type the numbers.

  • All ASCII character codes are four digits long. If the code for the character you want is shorter than four digits you need to add zeroes to the beginning to get the right length. For example: 249 is entered as 0249. 85 is entered as 0085, and so on.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Font group, change the font to Wingdings.

    The font selector expanded with Wingdings font chosen.
  2. Press and hold the ALT key and type the character code on the numeric keypad. Remember to add any leading zeroes you need to get to four digits of length. For example: ALT+0252 will insert a checkmark symbol.

Important: Don't skip step #1 otherwise you probably won't get the right character when you enter the code.

Make sure you change the font back to your previous font after inserting the symbol.

Get support
Contact us
Expand your Office skills
Explore training

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×