10+ keyboard shortcuts for entering special characters in a Word document

A PDF list of 80 Word 2003 keyboard shortcuts is available as a download.

In 10 Word annoyances (and how to turn them off), we looked at how to shut down a number of Word's automatic changes. Turning off certain options relieves you of some of the unexpected and often unwelcome replacements and insertions that Word is likely to impose on you. But even though you may not want Word to, say, always convert a pair of hyphens into an em dash, you might sometimes want to insert an em dash yourself. Here are 15 useful shortcuts that let you quickly insert special characters in a document -- on your terms.

Character Shortcut
A line break Shift+Enter
A page break Ctrl+Enter
A column break Ctrl+Shift+Enter
An optional hyphen Ctrl+- (hyphen)
A nonbreaking hyphen Ctrl+Shift+- (hyphen)
A nonbreaking space Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar
A copyright symbol Alt+Ctrl+C
A registered trademark symbol Alt+Ctrl+R
A trademark symbol Alt+Ctrl+T
An ellipsis Alt+Ctrl+. (period)
An em dash Alt+Ctrl+\
An en dash Ctrl+- (on numeric keypad)
The page number Alt+Shift+P
The current date Alt+Shift+D
The current time Alt+Shift+T


Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.


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