Microsoft Alternative Keyboard Symbols

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Ever wonder how to create special characters using your computer's keyboard? From accents and symbols to smiley faces, Windows makes it easy by providing a number of different ways to do this. Keep reading to learn what these mysterious characters are and how to make them.

Symbols

  • A computer's font is a data file with information on how the alphabet or a character will look when it is typed or displayed. A standard keyboard contains basic, commonly used characters, but a font set has many more that are not on the keyboard. To access these, you must either cut and paste them from another program or enter a code.

Charmap

  • Microsoft includes a useful program in its various operating systems called "Character Map." It is not always easily accessible from the Start menu, so the best way to open it is to select "Run" from the Start menu and type "charmap". Character Map will open and show you a list of characters from a particular font, selectable from a list. If you click on a character, you can copy it to the Clipboard, then paste it into any document by pressing Ctrl+V or by selecting "Paste" from the "Edit" menu of the program.

Keystrokes

  • Using Character Map, you can also see a key combination that is displayed at the bottom right (like Alt+0235) when you click on it. Note this number and open whatever program you want to type into. Put the cursor where you'd like the text to appear, the hold the Alt key and type the key sequence in the far-right number pad. The desired symbol or character will appear when you release the Alt key. When using this method, make sure Num Lock is enabled.

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