How to Type Special Characters On a Computer – The Easy Way

A computer keyboard has most the important keys required for our daily work. These include alphabets, numbers and symbols. However, at times we might require certain special characters, symbols or alphabets which are not displayed on our keyboards. These could be alphabets of a foreign language or characters not commonly displayed on the key board like the British Pound symbol (£) or the Japanese Yen symbol (¥). Similarly, if you are writing a financial report and want to use per thousand or per mille symbol (‰), how are you going to type it, because keyboards have a percent symbol (%) but not per mille sign.
There are certain simple methods which will let you incorporate these symbols and signs in your text or content. Generally people search for these symbols over the internet, copy them and paste them in their documents. However, this method is inefficient and takes time. Also, you might not be easily able to find certain symbols since you do not know their exact names. To help you resolve this problem, there are two simple methods which you can use.

Using Character Map of Windows:

A Character Map tool is a comprehensive list of special characters, including symbols and alphabets on a computer. It can be accesses by pressing the Windows key or clicking on the Windows Icon on the computer. This will open the explorer window where you need to type ‘character map’ and press enter. A Character Map Window will appear on the screen and you can select the character you require from the list. You can copy paste these symbols in your document.
The list is comprehensive and has a huge repository of special characters. However, it also means that at times it becomes difficult to find specific characters from this vast list. Also, generally under normal circumstances we use very few symbols and hence it is easier to remember the shortcuts for these characters rather than finding and selecting these from the list.


Using Keyboard Shortcuts:

If we generally use very few and specific symbols, it is easier to remember the keyboard shortcuts. Here are the few basics shortcuts. From our earlier examples, if you want to type British Pound sign (£), just press and hold the ‘Alt’ key and while holding it, type 0163. This will type the Pound sign on your computer. Similarly for Japanese Yen (¥), hold the ‘Alt’ key and type 0165 and for Euro (€), press ‘Alt’ and type 0128. Similarly for the Copyright sign (©), its ‘Alt’ + 0169. However, it only works with a numpad. You need to keep the ‘Num Lock’ key on and then type the required numbers using the numpad. Therefore, if you do not have a numpad, which is generally the case with most of the laptops, you can either attach a numpad to it or you need to use the Character Map option.
To find out the keyboard shortcuts for particular symbols, you can get these shortcuts from the Character Map window. In the Character Map list, select a symbol and you can see the corresponding shortcut on the lower right hand corner of the window. This is the corresponding shortcut for that particular symbol.

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