Insert a symbol or special character

Fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman provide characters conforming to the 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.) text encoding standard. In the Symbol dialog box, you can use the Subset list to search for Unicode characters by category.

  1. To make the Symbol command available, in normal view, place the insertion point on the Outline tab or in a text placeholder (placeholders: Boxes with dotted or hatch-marked borders that are part of most slide layouts. These boxes hold title and body text or objects such as charts, tables, and pictures.) on the slide.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Symbol.
  3. To change fonts, click a name in the Font box.
  4. Do one of the following:

ShowInsert a symbol or character from the default (ASCII) list

  • Click the symbol or character you want, click Insert, and then click Close.

ShowInsert a Unicode symbol or character

  1. In the From box, click Unicode (hex). (If you don't see Unicode (hex) in the list, then the font you have chosen doesn't support Unicode characters.)
  2. In the Subset list that appears in the upper-right corner, select the category of symbols or characters you want, such as Basic Latin or Currency Symbols. (The list differs depending on the font you choose.)
  3. Click the symbol or character you want, click Insert, and then click Close.


  • If you selected Unicode characters the last time you opened the Symbol dialog box, Unicode is displayed by default the next time you display the dialog box.
  • If you don't see the symbol you want, look at the available symbols for other fonts installed on your computer by selecting another font in the Font list.


  • When the From box displays ASCII (decimal), you can use the number shown in the Character Code box to insert a character or symbol. Place your insertion point where you want the character on the Microsoft PowerPoint slide, make sure NUM LOCK is on, hold down the ALT key, and then use the numeric keypad to type 0 (zero) followed by the character code. Then release the ALT key. The code applies to the current code page only, so some characters may not be available this way.
  • Certain symbols, such as the smiley face and arrows, are inserted automatically as you type. For example, if you first type the smiley face using keyboard characters such as ":-)", PowerPoint converts it to the symbol for a smiley face.
  • Use the Recently used symbols list at the bottom of the Symbol dialog box to quickly find a character or symbol you've used that you want to insert again.
Applies to:
PowerPoint 2003