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How to insert symbols and special characters into a Word document (video)

Do you need to use a Euro symbol in an economics paper? How about a Celsius degree in a lab report? Or, maybe you need to insert special characters into your math homework. I recently discovered the Math AutoCorrect feature in Word and realized that I could use it for more than just math stuff. Math AutoCorrect lets me insert symbols and special characters into my documents using keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts are sets of one or more keys that you type to complete an action rather than clicking with your mouse. Shortcuts are especially useful if you’re using the same symbols or special characters over and over again. It’s just faster!

This short video shows you how to insert symbols and special characters into a Word 2010 or Word 2007 document. Or, if you prefer to scan through instructions, look below for the step-by-step procedures and links to keyboard shortcuts.

To use the Math AutoCorrect keyboard shortcuts, you’ll need to enable Math AutoCorrect. To do this:

1. On the Word ribbon, click the File tab.
2. Click Options.
3. In the left pane, click Proofing.
4. Under AutoCorrect options, click the AutoCorrect Options button.

5. Click the Math AutoCorrect tab.

6. Click to select the Use Math AutoCorrect rules outside of math regions checkbox.

The Math AutoCorrect tab is where you’ll find an alphabetized list of keyboard shortcuts. To find a keyboard shortcut, scan the With column for the symbol you want to use and then look under the Replace column for the set of keys you need to enter as your keyboard shortcut. When you type the shortcut into your document, Math AutoCorrect will automatically replace that text with the associated symbol. In the video above, I use the keyboard shortcut “infty” to insert an infinity symbol into my document. For a complete list, see Math AutoCorrect keyboard shortcuts.

If you liked this, check out field codes–which is featured on the Microsoft Word blog.

Jennifer Bost