How to enter special characters not available on your keyboard

Suppose you have to type out characters like ®, ©, £ etc or for that matter any character which has no key on a keyboard to directly enter them. How do you do that?

Characters like ®, © etc are called special characters. In Windows, each special character is associated with a 4 digit numeric number, which when entered while holding down the ALT key will display the character. For example, the code for the character ® is 0174. So to enter ®, hold down the Alt key and press the numbers 0174. Do remember that the 4 digit number must be entered using your numeric 10 key pad on your keyboard! Similarly to enter the copyright symbol, © the code is Alt+0169.


That’s all fine. But how are you supposed to remember the code for all the special character? The answer is, you don’t need to. If you do know the 4 digit code you can directly enter the code. But if you don’t, then you could use a tool called the Character Map. The Character Map utility is free on all Windows machines and can be used to copy and paste special characters, accented letters and other foreign language characters characters into any Windows application. It is similar to the Insert Symbol tool found in some Windows applications such as Microsoft Word.

To access Character Map, go to Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Character Map. A quicker way is to open Start>Run (or Windows Key+R), type charmap and hit Enter.

Once the Character Map utility opens, double-click on any character you wish to insert, and click the Select button to make it appear in the Characters to Copy field. You can Select more than one character at this time. Highlight one or more of the characters in the Characters to Copy you wish to insert and click the Copy button. You can now paste the character in any other application. Notice that when you click on a special character in the Character Map, the 4 digit Alt code is also displayed on the bottom right. If you think you would be using a particular character frequently, you could do well to try remember the code for the character so that you can quickly use it in combination with the Alt key.


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