Software

Customize Office to save time entering symbols

Insert special symbols quickly by adding a toolbar button or using a custom keyboard shortcut.

To insert a special character, you probably choose Symbol from the Insert menu to launch the Symbol dialog box. In the scheme of things, access to these special characters is well organized and quick. However, you may want even quicker access, if you find yourself launching the Symbol dialog a lot. In any Office application, you can launch the Symbol dialog box from a toolbar by adding the Symbol command to a toolbar as follows:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Customize.
  2. Click the Commands tab.
  3. From the left pane, click Insert.
  4. In the right pane, scroll down a bit until you find the Symbol command.
  5. Drag this option to any toolbar.
  6. Click Close.

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The next time you want to insert a symbol, just click the Omega button instead of using the Insert menu. Admittedly, you're only saving a click, but that's not really the point. If you frequently insert symbols, you'll find the easy access beneficial.

If you insert the same symbol a lot, assign a shortcut key to insert it:

  1. From Insert, choose Symbol.
  2. In the Symbol dialog box, select the symbol and then click the Shortcut Key button.
  3. Enter the keys you want to assign as this symbol's shortcut. For instance, you might use [Alt]+C to insert a checkmark symbol.

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  1. Click Assign, click Close, and then click Cancel (or Insert).

To insert the symbol, simply press the shortcut you assigned. In this case, you'd press [Alt]+C to insert the selected checkmark symbol.

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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