Insert symbols and special characters in a worksheet

You can use the Symbol dialog box to enter symbols and characters that are not on your keyboard. Some examples are ASCII characters, Unicode (Unicode: A character encoding standard developed by the Unicode Consortium. By using more than one byte to represent each character, Unicode enables almost all of the written languages in the world to be represented by using a single character set.) characters, and other special characters, such as a paragraph mark, copyright symbol, and trademark symbol.

What do you want to do?

Insert a symbol
Insert a Unicode character
Insert special characters

Insert a symbol

  1. On the worksheet, click where you want to insert the symbol.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Symbol.
  3. Click the Symbols tab.
  4. Click the arrow in the Font box, and then click the font that you want in the list.
  5. Click the symbol that you want to insert, and then click Insert.

Tip    You can also double-click the symbol and then click Close.

 Notes 

  • To see more symbols, you can increase or decrease the size of the Symbol dialog box. Move the pointer to the lower-right corner of the dialog box until it becomes a double-headed arrow, and then drag the pointer to resize the dialog box. You can also use the scroll bars in the Symbol dialog box to see all the available symbols for the font that you chose.
  • When you click an ASCII character in the Symbol dialog box, its character code appears in the Character code box. The name displayed to the left of the Character code box is the official character name.

If you already know the character code for the character that you want, you can type the code directly into the Character code box to find the ASCII character.

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Insert a Unicode character

  1. On the worksheet, click where you want to insert the Unicode character.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Symbol.
  3. Click the Symbols tab.
  4. Click the arrow in the Font box, and then click the font that you want in the list.
  5. In the from box, click Unicode (hex).

The set of characters is limited if you select something other than Unicode in the from box. For example, if you select a local code page rather than Unicode, you see a correspondingly reduced set of characters in the Symbol dialog box.

  1. If the Subset box is available, click a subcategory.

The Subset list is available for expanded fonts, such as Arial or Times New Roman, and provides an extended list of language characters, punctuation, and mathematical symbols, such as:

  • Greek characters (Basic Greek)
  • Russian characters (Cyrillic)
  • An assortment of punctuation and bullets (General Punctuation)
  • Various currency symbols (Currency Symbols)
  • Various mathematical symbols (Mathematical Operators, Letterlike Symbols)

 Note   For more symbols in each category, you might want to install the Arial Unicode MS font.

  1. Select the symbol that you want to insert, and then click Insert.

Tip    You can also double-click the symbol and then click Close.

 Notes 

  • To see more symbols, you can increase or decrease the size of the Symbol dialog box. Move the pointer to the lower-right corner of the dialog box until it becomes a double-headed arrow, and then drag the pointer to resize the dialog box. You can also use the scroll bars in the Symbol dialog box to see all the available symbols for the font that you chose.
  • When you click a Unicode character in the Symbol dialog box, its character code appears in the Character code box. The name displayed to the left of the Character code box is the official character name in the Unicode 3.0 standard.

If you already know the character code, you can type it directly into the Character code box to find the Unicode character.

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Insert special characters

  1. On the Insert menu, click Symbol.
  2. Click the Special Characters tab.
  3. In the Character list, select the character that you want to insert, and then click Insert.

Tip    You can also double-click the special character and then click Close.

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Applies to:
Excel 2003