The Easy Way to Insert Special Symbols in Microsoft Word

Saikat Basu 17-05-2017

There are many special characters and symbols routinely used in documents. Keyboards don’t have enough space to include all of them.


Microsoft Word helps out because it uses a numeric character code called ASCII. You can use the Alt key with specific numeric codes to insert any of the 128 ASCII codes in your document. You can also go directly to the Symbols dialog from the Insert menu.

But if you use a symbol repeatedly, then it makes sense to create a permanent button for it. Add it to the Quick Access toolbar How to Customize the MS Office 2010 Quick Access Toolbar The Quick Access Toolbar has been a part of MS Office since the 2003 version, but it has come to the forefront since the introduction of MS Office 2007 and more prominently with MS Office... Read More on the top left and you have a shortcut to Microsoft Word productivity. Don’t let the advanced feature of using macros put you off. The process is simple. All you need to do is use the macro recorder.

Record a Macro

Start at the Developer tab in the Ribbon. Here’s how to display it if you don’t see it:

Go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon. Under the Main Tabs list, check Developer to show it on the Ribbon. Click OK. Then go to Ribbon > Developer tab > Code group > Macros.

On the Developer tab, in the same Code group, click on Record Macro.


The Easy Way to Insert Special Symbols in Microsoft Word Record Macro

Type a descriptive name for the symbol shortcut you plan to use (e.g. I want to use a single-click button for the “copyright” symbol). Select the option for Button because you want a one-click shortcut on the Quick Access bar. Store the macro in the Normal template (

The Easy Way to Insert Special Symbols in Microsoft Word Record Macro Dialog

The Ribbon customization panel opens. Choose the macro you just started creating. Click on Add to bring it to the Quick Access toolbar.

The Easy Way to Insert Special Symbols in Microsoft Word Customize Quick Access Button

Give this macro a nice image. Select the name of the macro and click on Modify. Choose an image for your symbol from the Modify box that is displayed. Click on OK and exit the Quick Access customization dialog to come back to your document.

The Easy Way to Insert Special Symbols in Microsoft Word Modify Macro Display

You have created an empty macro on the Quick Access toolbar. You will have to fill it up with a recording of the specific symbol you want to use the button for. From the Ribbon, choose Insert > Symbol, and then pick the symbol you want.

Insert Symbol

Go to the Developer tab on the ribbon and select Stop Recording.

Your new button is ready. When you want to insert the special character or symbol, head to the Quick Access toolbar and click on it.

Not sure what some of these mean? Find out how to look up the meanings of symbols 6 Ways to Find Symbols and Look Up Symbol Meanings Need help identifying a symbol? Here's how to find any symbol by picture, how to search symbol libraries, and more. Read More .

Related topics: Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Word.

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  1. Hildy J
    May 17, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    One other special character hint: use Character Map.

    It can be found in the Windows Accessories folder in the All Programs list. You can select the font you are interested in and scroll through all the available characters. It should allow you to copy into any program, not just word.