Hardware

Keyboard shortcuts for entering symbols in Word documents

Two keyboard shortcuts for entering the archaic cents symbol.

Most typewriters had a dedicated key for the cents symbol ( ¢ ). Interestingly, computer keyboards do not. That’s because (if I'm to believe Computer Science) the original group who created ASCII didn't think the symbol important enough. After all, doesn't $0.83 mean the same thing as 83¢? That’s why you no longer see cents formatted as just cents anymore. Thanks to this decision, the cents symbol has been rendered archaic and unnecessary--and you thought I was going to blame inflation!

The cents symbol didn't make the evolutionary leap from typewriter to computer keyboard, but eventually, the symbol did make its way into our encoding standards. If you need the symbol, you'll be glad to know that you're not stuck with the $0.00 format. There are at least two easy ways to enter this symbol:

  • Hold down the [Alt] key while pressing 0162 on the numeric keypad.
  • Press [Ctrl]+/+c.

It might seem like more work than necessary, but it works.

Another interesting keyboard shortcut that I just recently learned enters an accent mark. For years, I've been using the Insert Symbol method, but you can enter accented characters using just the keyboard! You do so by pressing [Ctrl]+apostrophe+character or [Ctrl]+grave+character. (The apostrophe character is to the right of the semi-colon; the grave accent is to the left of the number one digit.)

To quickly enter é, hold down the [Ctrl] key while pressing ' and then e. To quickly enter è, hold down the [Ctrl] key while pressing ` and then e.

About

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.

23 comments
bmgphd
bmgphd

I have a friend who is blind and uses Word 2010 with JAWS. She recently found that she can no longer use the down cursor key to move down a line in Word 2010, but it works fine everywhere else. Also, on one occasion, pressing the right cursor key produced a "happy face." Any tips on what might have occurred and how to fix it. My guess was that some form of remapping occurred, but I don't use Word PC. Thanks! Bruce

CharIrene
CharIrene

I've always used the character map for these things in the past. I like being able to find the cents shortcut and wish the copyright symbol was as easily available. I noticed the cents symbol does not appear in my message here, so had to edit it to the actual word, even though it showed up when I first wrote it.

CharIrene
CharIrene

The control + grave or apostrophe plus e does not work on my Microsoft keyboard. The alt + 0162 on the numeric keypad does give me a cents sign ? Yahoo!

Gordon Or-8
Gordon Or-8

I regularly use:- Alt+0177 = ? Alt+0216 = ? Al+0176 = ? Useful engineering symbols... For others I tend to use the Character map as and when required. Somebody listed Alt+0128 for the euro symbol Ctrl+Alt+4 seems easier to me (?).. Keyboard mapping in Windows looks to be a problem for european users too.

dawgit
dawgit

= the Euro Symbol :) except here, when done here on TR you get '?' ?:| very strange ]:)

Tink!
Tink!

Usable Bit of Information. Thanks!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What symbols or odd characters do you find yourself using recently? Care to share the keyboard shortcut with us?

heyyoucraig
heyyoucraig

Good Day The copyright symbol (in MS Word) is available by entering - left bracket C right bracket - (c) - which should auto correct to the ? which is ALT 0169 (which may be a ? on TR's site) Cheers

flez
flez

ALT + 0162 = ? Cents ALT + 0163 = ? Pound Sterling ALT + 0165 = ? Yen ALT + 0169 = ? Copywright Aw Rats !! They all turn into Qu mark on here!

nmurtagh
nmurtagh

Most of these shortcuts dont seem to work here (Japanese keyboard). Some standard shortcuts on my machine are hijacked by a macro-based application ("Wordfast"). Anyone know how to check the current keyboard shortcut assignment? thnx.

Rael1teer
Rael1teer

HAHAHAAAA... I am a new user, and when I did THAT !!!!!!!!!!! Oh wow ... I thought I broke my laptop!!! ROFLOL!!!!! Thanks for the smile... :) (yes .. I eventually figured out how to straighten out my screen) heheheheeee... My favorite symbol is ALT+0222 ? which I precede with a colon and it becomes a fancy way to stick out my tongue :p

flez
flez

Here's a couple more, I use.... ALT + 0162 = ? Cents ALT + 0163 = ? Pound Sterling ALT + 0165 = ? Yen ALT + 0169 = ? Copywright Aw Rats !! Thye all turn into Qu mark on here!

ginmemphis
ginmemphis

For a symbol you use regularly, create your own easy-to-remember shortcut. Go to Insert Symbol, find the symbol/special character, click Shortcut Key, and enter "Press new shortcut key." I use Alt+$ for a cent sign. BTW: There are extensive lists in Help, Keyboard Shortcuts.

Hawklord99
Hawklord99

There are loads of resources out there with lists of ASCII character codes: http://www.danshort.com/ASCIImap/ is as good a place to start as any. Personally, as a user who needs to correspond in several Western European languages I use these a lot: Alt 0241 ? Alt 0232 ? Alt 0223 ? Alt 0246 ? Alt 0252 ? Alt 0231 ? Alt 0244 ? Alt 0191 ? Alt 0161 ? Also,improve the look of your fractions with: Alt 0189 ? Alt 0188 ? Alt 0190 ? Cheers.

Jasonjb1222
Jasonjb1222

Working on a laptop, without the extra number pad on the tight, so I need to use Fn (Function) key to get my characters out... But normally, working in french a lot, knowing ASCII is KEY! For example, on a french set keyboard: @ is not shift 2. Working remotely, I don't see it. So examples I use almost daily. ALT+: 130: ? 133: ? 135: ? 136: ? 137: ? 138: ? 144: ? 151: ? 64: @ 92: \ 34: " 47: / Very lovely, that this page does not interpret ASCII properly... HAHAHAHA

FionaTobin
FionaTobin

To list all of the keyboard shortcuts used in Word bring up the Print dialog box and from the Print What drop down choose key assignments. This should give you a complete list.

Gordon Or-8
Gordon Or-8

Some much fun from a Euro symbol....? '?' - lol ;) Obviously I am using a UK desktop keyboard and some things don't transfer so well to a Canadian laptop keyboard. (or are you set to English US?) What did it do?

dawgit
dawgit

What's up with that TR? ?:|

dhays
dhays

I cant get alt + $ to give me anything.

dawgit
dawgit

It seems they all do here :(

BrianScattergood
BrianScattergood

I use Alt+0235 a lot when I'm replying to a Chlo? or a Zo?, but a copy of this pdf will be going on my desk!