Software

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

If you prefer to enter special characters yourself on a case-by-case basis, it's handy to know a few keyboard shortcuts.

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.

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

The shortcuts

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 Ctrl+Shift+\
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

About

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.

9 comments
ofsted
ofsted

How can you quickly insert a superscripted degree symbol?

samuel.a.dyck
samuel.a.dyck

when using edit>replace, ^p = paragraph marker. what is the equivalent code for page break? I know that the info was in office standard, but word 2003 does not make finding it easy.

allen
allen

To insert an em-dash, forget about what the chart shows. Enter, instead, Alt + Ctrl + the minus sign on the numeric keypad. I would like to know keyboard shortcuts for entering an en-dash and for entering the page number. Whatever they are, they are not what is shown on the chart.

candzgramma
candzgramma

Type alt 0186 (keypad) Works in Win 95 and 98 and Vista with Office 2007.

krsmav
krsmav

With NumLock on, hold down Alt, type 248 on the numeric pad and release Alt.

DrPamB
DrPamB

What works for me: For en-dash: and - (on numeric keypad) For em-dash and - (on numeric keypad)

AtCollege
AtCollege

I can't remember all those keyboard combinations and I don't have to for the trademark, copyright and registered symbols. All I do is type (tm) or (c) or (r) and Word's autocorrect feature changes them to the correct symbol. If I really want to keep the (c) for instance, I just backspace immediately after autocorrect changes it to the symbol and then I have the (c) back again.

tls82515
tls82515

To insert an en-dash, use Ctrl + the minus sign on the numeric keypad. If the cursor is in the middle of the text when you use the shortcut for a page number, that's where the number will appear. I View Headers/Footers, then use the shortcut.

rapell
rapell

too much on ms-word auto-correct facility, thats a recipe for being misquoted as having said one thing while you meant another.

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