6 tips for adding international characters and symbols to your document

Applies to
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Word 2000 and 2002

Addressing a letter to a customer with an umlaut in the name? Comparing U.S. dollars to yen, euros, and pounds sterling in a report? Need to include characters from the Greek alphabet in your science homework? It's amazing how often you need a symbol or international character when you're creating a document.

If you are having trouble finding the symbol or character you are looking for, tip 1 shows you how to locate characters in the Symbol dialog box, and tip 2 provides additional information about inserting international characters.

If you have already found the symbol or character you want, these four tricks make adding the symbols or characters you use often even faster. Tip 3 and tip 4 show you how to customize Word to open the Symbol dialog box with one click or keyboard shortcut. Tip 5 and tip 6 show you how to set up shortcuts for inserting characters or symbols that you use all the time.

Finding the characters and symbols you want

The Symbol dialog box is the place to go when you want to insert a symbol or special character. To open the Symbol dialog box, click Symbol on the Insert menu.

Symbol dialog box

With all the symbols and characters available, it can be a challenge to find the one you want. You can change the selection of characters by choosing a different font. You can even narrow your search by choosing a subset of the font.

Tip 1: Try different fonts to see different characters

The Font list in the Symbol dialog box shows the fonts that are available in Word, and each font offers different characters (sometimes very different). Some of the fonts are divided into subsets so that you can view the list of characters by groups. For example, in the Times New Roman font, you can click General Punctuation in the Subset list to quickly view the punctuation characters available in the selected font. Not every font has a Subset list, and the list is different depending on the selected font.

 Note   To display the Subset list in Word 2003 or 2002 for the fonts that support the list, click Unicode (hex) in the from list at the bottom of the Symbol dialog box.

To find a limited selection of international characters, click the Latin-1 or Latin Extended-A subset in a font that supports the Subset list, such as Arial.

Tip 2: International characters: Use shortcuts or a different keyboard

To insert international characters in your document, you can use a keyboard shortcut, or if you type extensively in another language, you may prefer to switch to a different keyboard.

  • For information about using keyboard shortcuts to add international characters to your document, click a link under See Also.
  • For information about switching to a different keyboard, click a link under See Also.

Quick ways to use the Symbol dialog box

When you know your way around the Symbol dialog box, you want to open it as quickly as possible. You can customize Word so that the Symbol dialog box opens when you click a toolbar button or press a function key or keyboard shortcut.

Tip 3: Add an Insert Symbol button to any toolbar

To open the Symbol dialog box with a single click, you can add an Insert Symbol button to any toolbar in Word.

  1. Make sure that the toolbar you want to add the Insert Symbol button to is open and visible.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Customize, and then click the Commands tab.
  3. In the Categories list, click Insert.
  4. In the Commands list, find Symbol, and then drag it to the location you want on the toolbar.
  5. Close the Customize dialog box.

You can now use the Insert Symbol button anytime you want to open the Symbol dialog box.

Tip 4: Assign a keyboard shortcut to the Symbol dialog box

To open the Symbol dialog box with a function key or key combination, such as CTRL+SHIFT+F2 or CTRL+SHIFT+?, you can assign a keyboard shortcut.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Customize.
  2. Click Keyboard.
  3. In the Categories list, click Insert.
  4. In the Commands list, click InsertSymbol.
  5. In the Save changes in box, click the current document name or template (template: A file or files that contain the structure and tools for shaping such elements as the style and page layout of finished files. For example, Word templates can shape a single document, and FrontPage templates can shape an entire Web site.) in which you want to save the keyboard shortcut changes.

Begin your keyboard shortcut combination with CTRL, ALT, or a function key.

  1. Click the Press new shortcut key box, and then press the keyboard shortcut that you want to assign. For example, press ALT plus the key that you want to use.
  2. Look at Currently assigned to to see whether the keyboard shortcut that you pressed is already assigned to a command or other item. If it is already assigned, try another combination.

If you reassign a keyboard shortcut, you can no longer use the combination for its original purpose. For example, by default, pressing CTRL+B changes selected text to bold. If you reassign CTRL+B to a new command or other item, you can no longer make text bold by pressing CTRL+B unless you restore the keyboard shortcut assignments to their original settings.

  1. Click Assign.

 Note   To remove all customized keyboard shortcut assignments and restore the original Microsoft Word keyboard shortcut assignments in the template or document that is selected in the Save changes in box, click Reset All.

  1. Close the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
  2. Close the Customize dialog box.

You can now press the keyboard shortcut that you assigned any time you want to open the Symbol dialog box.

Quick ways to insert characters and symbols that you use frequently

If you use a particular character or symbol often, you can set up a quick way to add it by using a keyboard shortcut or an AutoCorrect entry. You can find both options in the Symbols dialog box.

Monitor and keyboard with AutoCorrect entry and keyboard shortcut

Callout 1 AutoCorrect entry
Callout 2 Keyboard shortcut

You need to set up the AutoCorrect entry or keyboard shortcut for each symbol or special character (except a few that are built in), but you have to do it only once. You may find the AutoCorrect entries easier to remember than keyboard shortcuts; it all depends on the way that you like to work.

Tip 5: Set up an AutoCorrect entry for a symbol or special character

With an AutoCorrect entry, you type a sequence of letters and watch those letters change to the symbol or character you want. For example, to use an AutoCorrect entry that is already set up in Word, you can insert the copyright symbol by doing the following:

  1. Position the insertion point in your document where you want to insert the symbol.
  2. Type (c).

A copyright symbol appears.

For a list of the AutoCorrect entries that are already set up for special characters, click a link under See Also.

To set up your own AutoCorrect entry, do the following:

  1. On the Insert menu, click Symbol, or use one of the shortcuts to open the Symbol dialog box.
  2. Click the Symbols tab or the Special Characters tab.
  3. Select the symbol or special character that you want to set up the AutoCorrect entry for, such as Greek alpha character (the lowercase Greek letter alpha).
  4. Click AutoCorrect.

The symbol or character appears in the With box.

  1. In the Replace box, type the text sequence that you want Word to automatically change to the symbol or character that you selected, such as \alpha.
  2. Click Add.
  3. In the AutoCorrect dialog box, click OK.
  4. Close the Symbol dialog box.

Tip 6: Assign a keyboard shortcut to a symbol or special character

Many keyboard shortcuts are already built into Word.

For example, the keyboard shortcut for inserting a copyright symbol is ALT+CTRL+C.

You can make your own keyboard shortcuts by clicking the Shortcut Key button. To see whether a keyboard shortcut is already assigned to a symbol, click the symbol in the Symbol dialog box, and look for a keyboard shortcut next to the text Shortcut key at the bottom of the Symbol dialog box.

ShowKeyboard shortcuts already assigned for special characters

Shortcut key Special character
CTRL+F9 A field
SHIFT+ENTER A line break
ALT+CTRL+MINUS SIGN An em dash
CTRL+MINUS SIGN An en dash
CTRL+HYPHEN An optional hyphen
CTRL+SHIFT+HYPHEN A nonbreaking hyphen
CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR A nonbreaking space
ALT+CTRL+C The copyright symbol
ALT+CTRL+R The registered trademark symbol
ALT+CTRL+T The trademark symbol
ALT+CTRL+PERIOD An ellipsis
CTRL+`,` A single opening quotation mark
CTRL+', ' A single closing quotation mark
CTRL+`, SHIFT+' Double opening quotation marks
CTRL+', SHIFT+' Double closing quotation marks

To assign your own keyboard shortcut, do the following:

  1. On the Insert menu, click Symbol, or use one of the shortcuts to open the Symbol dialog box.
  2. Click the Symbols tab or the Special Characters tab.
  3. Select the symbol or special character that you want to set up the keyboard shortcut for, such as Greek alpha character (the lowercase Greek letter alpha).
  4. Click Shortcut Key.
  5. In the Save changes in box, click the current document name or template (template: A file or files that contain the structure and tools for shaping such elements as the style and page layout of finished files. For example, Word templates can shape a single document, and FrontPage templates can shape an entire Web site.) in which you want to save the keyboard shortcut changes.
  6. Click the Press new shortcut key box, and then press the keyboard shortcut that you want to assign to the symbol or character. For example, press ALT+[.
  7. Make sure that the keyboard shortcut that you typed is not already assigned to another function in Word. The text next to Currently assigned to should be [unassigned].
  8. Click Assign, and then click Close.
  9. Close the Symbol dialog box.

Portions of this article were excerpted from Training on Microsoft Office Online.

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003