Insert symbols and special characters on a worksheet

When symbols and special characters are not available on the keyboard, you can use the Symbol dialog box to insert characters such as check box or Latin characters in a cell on a worksheet. For example, you can insert symbols such as ASCII characters or 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 (©), or trademark symbol().

What do you want to do?


Insert a symbol

  1. On the worksheet, click the cell in which you want to insert the symbol.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Symbol.

Excel Ribbon Image

The Symbol dialog box appears.

  1. Click the Symbols tab.
  2. In the Font box, click the font that you want to use. The set of symbols that is available in the list may depend on the font that you choose.
  3. In the list of symbols, 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 the cell into which you want to insert the Unicode character.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Symbol.

Excel Ribbon Image

The Symbol dialog box appears.

  1. Click the Symbols tab.
  2. In the Font box, click the font that you want to use. The set of symbols that is available in the list may depend on the font that you choose.
  3. In the from box, click Unicode (hex).

The set of characters is limited if you select something other than Unicode (hex) in the from box. For example, if you select a local code page such as ASCII (decimal) or ASCII (hex) instead of Unicode (hex), you see a correspondingly reduced set of characters in the Symbol dialog box.

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

 Tip   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 tab, in the Text group, click Symbol.

Excel Ribbon Image

  1. Click the Special Characters tab.
  2. In the Character list, click 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 2007