Top 4 Ways to Add Spe­cial Char­ac­ters in Win­dows 10

Parth Shah

I recently attended a group meeting on Microsoft Teams, and one of the attendees was showing a PowerPoint presentation using screen sharing. On one slide, he used the word Copyright instead of © symbol. That reminded me of the struggle of adding special characters to documents or even in general conversation in Windows 10. I bet it is equally troublesome for many of you to find and use special characters in Windows 10.

Special characters in windows 10

Special characters like currency symbols, math symbols, etc. are used for special purposes only. And you will not be able to find them your regular keyboards. Thankfully, Microsoft offers multiple ways to add special characters throughout the OS.

In this post, we are going to talk about the top four ways to add special characters in Windows 10. It’s fairly easy and I’m sure you will learn something new along with the post. Let’s get started.

1. Windows Emoji Panel

This is the quickest and easiest way to add special characters in Windows 10. Simply use the Windows Key + ; or Windows Key + . shortcut and it will bring up the default emoji panel to the cursor.

The menu is divided into three categories. The first one is emoji, then Kaomoji, and the last one is Symbols.

Move to the Symbols menu and you will see it nicely divided into certain categories such as recently used, currency symbols, math numbers, Greek symbols, and more.

Emoji menu in windows 10

Tap or select the special character you want to add and show up in a document or conversation. I like how Microsoft has added Recently used symbols menu so that you don’t have to scroll through hundreds of special characters each time you access the emoji panel.

My only problem with the emoji panel is the lack of a search bar. You can’t simply search for terms like Euro or Register and access the relevant symbols quickly. Each time you try to add a new symbol, you will have to go through the long list of special characters to find the relevant symbol.

2. Character Map App

Character Map is a native Windows Accessory that is built to serve this purpose. Follow these easy steps to learn how to use Character Map on your computer.

Step 1: Click the Windows button and type Character Map into it and open the app. Alternatively, Press Windows Key + R to launch Run, and type charmap and hit Enter to open Character Map on your computer.

Step 2: In the Character Map app, you can select different types of fonts from the top menu. By default, it’s set as Arial.

Character map fonts

Step 3: Select the font that goes right with your document and you will see the similar special characters in the bottom menu.

Step 4: Single-click the symbol to see the symbol name and double-click on a character that you want to use and it will appear in the Characters to copy box.

Charcter map copy

Step 5: Now, click on Copy, and it is done. Paste it anywhere in the document using the Ctrl + V shortcut.

Unlike the emoji panel, Character Map does offer a handy search tool quickly search for the symbol that you are looking for.

Search in characters map

Tap on the Advanced view at the bottom and it will offer a search bar. You can type Copyright and it will filter out the special characters for you.

3. Alt Codes

Alt codes come from pressing and holding down your Alt key and pressing a specific set of numbers. It could be from 1 to 4 digits. These codes are useful when you don’t have some symbol tool. The process is also faster if you know the code.

You can’t use Alt codes on your regular laptop keyboard. You must use the numbers on the Numeric keypad and not the ones printed under the function keys.

Alt codes

First, you need to make sure that the Num Lock key is on. Then, press the Alt key and use the combination of numbers to type special characters. For example, you can use Alt + 0169 for copyright or Alt + 0163 for the Euro symbol.

4. Special Characters in Microsoft Word

If you mostly require using special characters in Microsoft Word software, then use the built-in symbols menu.

Symbols in word

While writing, tap on the Insert menu at the top and open the Symbols menu. You will see a bunch of default symbols to choose from. Select More Symbols to open a detailed menu. You will see all the symbols and special characters to add to a Word document.

Symbols in word menu

The good news is you can even use keyboard shortcuts to type special characters in Word.

Add Special Characters on the Go

Similar to macOS, it’s fairly easy to insert special characters in Windows 10. As for me, I mostly rely on Windows 10 emoji menu to add special characters. Even in Word and Excel, I opt for the emoji menu to insert symbols as it’s key combination is easy to remember and doesn’t require you to move through apps and menus to get the job done.

Next up: Adding special characters in Google Docs is no longer challenging. Read the post below to find about top 5 tricks for inserting special characters in Google Docs.


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Parth Shah

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Parth Shah

Parth previously worked at EOTO.tech covering tech news. He is currently freelancing at Guiding Tech writing about apps comparison, tutorials, software tips and tricks and diving deep into iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows platforms.