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How to insert a symbol with a keyboard shortcut in MS Word

Inserting symbols in MS Word isn’t the most convenient. It’s to be expected given how complex the word processor is. It’s hard to think of a feature that it doesn’t have but not everything can be placed one button away. We did a post on how you can enable Math autocorrect so that it’s easier to enter Math symbols. For other symbols that you need to enter often, like the copyright or trademark symbol, you can insert it with a keyboard shortcut. For some symbols, the keyboard shortcut might already be configured. Here’s how you can insert a symbol with a keyboard shortcut.

Insert symbol with keyboard shortcut

Open Microsoft Word and go to the Insert tab. Click the Symbol tool (the one with the omega sign on it), to open the symbol drawer. Click the More Symbols option.

In the window that opens, select a symbol. You see in the Current Keys section which keyboard shortcut is already configured for the symbol. Not all symbols have a shortcut configured. Regardless, you can set a custom shortcut by clicking inside the ‘Press new shortcut key’ and tapping the keyboard shortcut that you want to use to insert the symbol.

The downside of this is of course that you have a limited number of keys that can be used to enter a symbol. If you need to enter a lot of them, you can try setting up the autocorrect option for the symbols. We’ve gone over how you can autoformat a word when it’s typed. This saves you the time you’d spend applying the format during composing the document or during editing. You can use this same feature to autocorrect a word/phrase to the symbol you want to enter.

You do want to be careful with the phrase that you use. It shouldn’t be something that you enter too often e.g., you can’t use the letters ‘th’ since it’s often used in a lot of words.

With the phrase, you’re not limited to using just letters. You can use numbers and even punctuation symbols. Using a combination of them will prevent Word from entering the symbol when it shouldn’t.

You should also check the symbols that are already present in the autocorrect. A lot of the commonly used ones such as the copyright symbol already have a short phrase i.e., (c) configured. When you enter the letter c, enclosed in simple brackets, Word automatically replaces it with the copyright symbol.

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