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Using the ALT Character Shortcuts in Windows

Improve Your Document Appearance Quickly And Easily

By Damien Andrews

Alt characters

Just a few of the characters and symbols available when using the ALT character shortcuts in windows.

If you are doing your word processing in Windows, you have fast, easy access to characters and symbols that will instantly enhance the appearance of your documents in the Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes. It's very easy to use the codes, and you'll quickly memorize your favorite ones. For those codes you don't memorize or record, there's a source that shows you all the Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes.

Before proceeding, let me show you one quick example of how using the Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes enhances the appearance and readability of your documents:
Set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Set your oven to 350°F.
The use of the symbol for degrees (°) eliminates the need to spell out the word degrees and the word Fahrenheit. It is also a more compact, more easily read presentation.

All of the characters available in Windows fonts can be accessed through the Character Map. To access the Character Map in Windows: Click on Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map.
In Windows Vista: Click Accessories > System Tools. The Character Map, while useful, has some drawbacks. It must be opened; it uses resources and symbols and characters must be copied and then pasted. All undesirable! But the biggest drawback is this: when you paste the symbol or character, it will likely not be the correct font or size, and thus must be highlighted and adjusted appropriately. This is time consuming and often frustrating.

How to quickly access the Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes
It is very simple. Hold down the ALT key and type the Windows Alt Key Numeric Code you desire. The symbol or character will appear at the cursor, in the correct size and font. NB: This MUST be done on the NUMERIC keypad ONLY. It will not work with the numbered keys on the top of the qwerty keyboard. Also be SURE your Num Lock key is engaged.

Following is a short, partial list of some of the Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes, along with their corresponding characters and symbols, that I find most useful when creating documents. For a complete list of symbols, characters and their Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes, visit Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes.

Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes and their corresponding characters and symbols
ALT+7 = •
ALT + 155 = ¢
ALT + 253 = ²
ALT + 188 = ¼
ALT + 189 = ½
ALT + 190 = ¾
ALT + 169 = ©
ALT + 174 = ®
ALT + 153 = ™
ALT + 241 = ±
ALT + 251 = √
ALT + 246 = ÷
ALT + 16 = ►
ALT + 147 = “ [opening typographer's quotes]
ALT + 148 = ” [closing typographer's quotes]
ALT + 26 = →
ALT + 135 = ç [French cedilla]
ALT + 128 = Ç [French cedilla]
ALT + 130 = é [accent grave]
ALT + 164 = ñ [accent tilde]
ALT + 165 = Ñ [accent tilde]
ALT + 254 = ■

Link to a complete list of Windows Alt Key Numeric Codes.


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