Alt Codes & Symbols

When personal computers (PC) were built for the first time of the history, many characters like Latin languages (such as French, Portuguese), English with accent marks, icons (like a happy face, etc.), and symbols (like $ and other currency signs, etc.), were not supported nor associated with keys. So, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) first developed a way to display the characters that cannot be inputted along with the keyboard on the screen. Accordingly, while pressing the Alt key down, type the code defined for the character through the "Alt Numpad" input method. Then other similar operating systems developed the same feature or extended forms that are now available, including DOS and Microsoft Windows systems. The system which initially interprets this action and then places the relating character at the cursor's location is known as "BIOS." These codes became highly popular, and due to its popularity Microsoft, even though it decided to develop a new set of codes to keep them. Hence, the new set of codes was named "ANSI," Later, it was changed to "Windows codes." Concerning the old ones, they were called "OEM," which stands for "original equipment manufacturer" code pages. 

Interestingly, the three-digit codes represent the "OEM" codes, full codes with a preceding 0 stand for the new "ANSI" codes. For the last two decades, Unicode is quickly adopted by various systems. After selecting Windows to Unicode, the entry of all Unicode characters and symbols by the same method was immediately desired and then achieved by some applications. However, they could not be spread to all systems, as the compatibility issues and the old "ANSI" codes prevent the entry of Unicode symbols.

How to use Alt Codes

Using Alt codes method is quite faster than searching for various symbols in the library, and then inserting it. Alt Codes also helps if you have a broken key. For instance, you can use the code "Alt+ 032" to add spaces between words. Alt codes consist of 5 digits.

There are some tips to remember about Alt Codes. For instance, you have to use the numbers on the "Numeric" keypad, as using the number keys right below your function keys may not work. Note that the "Num Lock" should always be on whenever you decide to type Alt codes. If your keyboard does not have a dedicated "Numpad," then you have another option, in which you have to use an "Fn" key in combination along with a "Num Lock" key. Be aware that not all the code symbols will show on printouts even though these codes show on your computer's or laptop's screen. Concerning the use of the Alt Codes for Apple, you should be aware that Apple has its method and does not rely on the other codes mentioned above. As using Alt codes on a Mac, you will need to use the "Character Viewer" button instead of using Alt codes. 

How to create Symbols using Alt Codes

Below there are shown some tips on how you can type and create the symbols by using Alt codes. You are provided with an example of the cent (currency symbols) that you can type, namely the sign < ¢ > on your Windows PC. Follow these steps:

  • Step 1 - At first, you need to open a document where you wish to type or see the symbol you create through Alt codes.
  • Step 2 - Next, make sure that the key to "Num Lock" is positioned as "ON."
  • Step 3- Then, you must press and hold down simultaneously, the left “Alt’ key of your keyboard.
  • Step 4 - Next, click the one/1 key on the number pad.
  • Step 5 - Once you press 1, then immediately press the five/5 key on the number pad.
  • Step 6 - Finally, you need to press the five/5 key on the number pad.

See the photo below for further examples:

Windows Alt Key Codes for Mac.

Below there are some further examples that you can try on your keyboard. You may notice that some lower numbers have a designated keyboard key like the < $ > sign.

Currency Symbol examples with keyboard codes:

  • Symbol - $ (Dollar); Keyboard codes: Alt 3 6;
  • Symbol - ¢ (Cents); Keyboard codes: Alt 1 5 5;
  • Symbol - £ (Pound); Keyboard codes: Alt 1 5 6;
  • Symbol - € (Euro); Keyboard codes: Alt 0 1 2 8;
  • Symbol - ₣ (French Franc); Keyboard codes: Alt 8 3 5 5.

Can Alt Codes don’t work

Sometimes it happens so that the Alt codes do not function and work as expected. The reason for that has to do with some details such as code pages and sometimes even Windows registry settings. For instance, if you tried to insert the Alt code for the French Franc in WordPad, Microsoft Word, or Outlook, it would work fine. However, it will not work using Excel, Gmail, my code editor, or other similar programs. Along with these programs, any code which is higher than about 255 will cause some unexpected results. Hence, you will immediately see a symbol produced, but it will not be the one you wanted, making it more confusing.

About Alt Key Symbols

There are hundreds of Alt key symbols. They are created by the combination of the alt key and numbers. For example, Alt+1 to Alt+31 represent icon symbols like faces and icons, while numbers 176 to 223 represent graphic polygons and lines.

The Alt key is widely known as part of the key combinations, by which you can do the following procedures:

  • “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” shows a task manager in some operating systems.
  • “Alt+⌘ Cmd+Esc” shows the “Force Quit” pop-up window in the Apple system.
  • “Alt+F4” closes the current window. It can also shut down the system if the desktop is in the foreground.
  • “Alt+⇧ Shift” switches among the layout of the language system.
  • “Alt+Tab ↹” switches among the opened window.

How to type an Alt Key Symbol on keyboard

For instance, let's create a degree symbol using its "Alt Code" value on the keyboard. Follow the following steps:

  • Step 1 - At first, make sure that the "Num Lock" key is switched "on."
  • Step 2 - Next, you need to press and hold down simultaneously the Alt key.
  • Step 3 - Then, type the ‘Alt Code” value of the degree symbol (or any other symbol you want to see in your document) along with “0176” on the numeric pad of your computer or laptop.
  • Step 4 - Next, release the "Alt key," You will immediately get a < ° > degree symbol in your document.

*Note: Above mentioned method is not applicable for Mac OS; You can use this method with Windows.

What are the special characters?

A special character is not a numeric or alphabetic character, but it represents various symbols (like punctuation marks, etc.) and can have multiple uses. Here are some examples of some special characters and their meanings:

~ Tilde.

` Acute, backquote, grave accent, free quote, or a push.

# means number, octothorpe, pound, hash, or sharp.

^ Circumflex or caret.

[ Open bracket.

] Closed bracket.

* Asterisk, sometimes referred to as a star or mathematical multiplication symbol.

: Colon.

; Semicolon.

< Meaning something less than or angle brackets.

> Meaning something more significant than or angle brackets.

{ Open brace, curly bracket, or squiggly brackets.

} means closed brace, curly bracket, or squiggly brackets.

How to insert special characters in a Word processor

If you use a word processor, you may need to insert some special characters into your documents. These special characters can include accented letters, ellipsis, foreign language characters, math symbols, Copyright symbols, trade symbols, and world currency symbols. Due to the limited space for keys, and since most of these special characters are uncommon, a user may not find many of them on a standard keyboard of his/her PC, mobile device, or another platform. However, most services and programs give the ability to its users to insert special characters by following the below-listed steps, such as:

  • Open the Microsoft Office Word Document.
  • Press the “Insert” at the top menu option or the Insert tab.
  • Choose the “Symbol” category in the Insert menu or select the “Symbol option” on the Insert tab.
  • Then, choose the letter in the special characters list with the accent mark you wish to use and hit the “Insert” button.

Note: If you use the MS Word, click on the shortcut key Ctrl+'+<letter> to add a letter with an accent (e.g., grave) mark above it. For instance, if you wish to insert an accented é, you should use the Ctrl + ' + e (Note: hold down the Ctrl button, single quote, and the letter e as well) as the shortcut key. However, if you want to reverse the accent mark, you will have to use the opposite accent mark on the tilde key.

Here are instructions to insert special characters in Google Docs:

  • Open the Google Docs;
  • Press “Insert”;
  • Click on the “Special Characters” and draw or choose the special character you wish to insert.

Last added Symbols and Codes

Symbol Title / Description Unicode Code / HTML Code
🃱 Playing Card Trump-17 #x1F0F1;
🃓 Playing Card Three Of Clubs #x1F0D3;
Right-shaded White Rightwards Arrow #x27A9;
🁇 Domino Tile Horizontal-03-01 #x1F047;
Male With Stroke And Male And Female #9895;
Downwards Harpoon With Barb Left From Bar &#10593; & #x2961;
💙 Blue Heart #x1F499;
💪 Flexed Biceps &U+1F4AA & #128170
Summation With Integral &#10763; & #x2A0B;
Fullwidth Percent &#65285; & #xFF05;
Triangle With Dot Above &#10698; & #x29CA;
🇹🇦 Tristan da Cunha &U+1F1F9 U+1F1E6 & #127481 #127462
Less-than Or Approximate &#10885; & #x2A85;
© Copyright Unicode #169;
White Four Pointed Star #10023;
Minus With Dot Below &#10794; & #x2A2A;
Minus &#8722; & #x2212;
🃦 Playing Card Trump-6 #x1F0E6;
𝄷 Ottava Bassa &U + 1D137; & #119095;
Union Above Bar Above Intersection &#10824; & #x2A48;
🃝 Playing Card Queen Of Clubs #x1F0DD;
🂋 Domino Tile Vertical-05-05 #x1F08B;
Downwards Arrow With Double Stroke #x21DF;
🐏 Ram &U+1F40F & #128015
Not Identical To &#8802; & #x2262;
🇬🇾 Guyana &U+1F1EC U+1F1FE & #127468 #127486
🥕 Carrot Emoji &U+1F955 & #129365
Short Rightwards Arrow Above Leftwards Arrow #x2944;
𝅘𝅥𝅮 Eighth Note &U + 1D160; & #119136;
Left Triangle Beside Vertical Bar &#10703; & #x29CF;
Kangxi Radical Heart #x2F3C;
Double-line Equal To Or Greater-than &#10906; & #x2A9A;
Plus With Small Circle Above &#10786; & #x2A22;
🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands &U+1F1FB U+1F1EC & #127483 #127468
£ Pound alt code 163
🀝 Mahjong Tile Five Of Circles #x1F01D;
🦖 T-Rex &U+1F996 & #129430
😽 Kissing Cat Face &U+1F63D & #128573
White Square Containing Black Small Square &#9635; & #x25A3;
🕢 Clock Face Seven-thirty &#128354; & #x1F562;
🤖 Robot Face &U+1F916 & #129302
White Up-pointing Triangle red -#x25B3;
🃖 Playing Card Six Of Clubs #x1F0D6;
🔁 Clockwise Rightwards And Leftwards Open Circle Arrows #x1F501;
Aries #9800;
Leftwards Arrow-tail #x2919;
Error-barred White Circle &#10738; & #x29F2;
White Circle With Down Arrow #x29EC;
Double Right Arc Less-than Bracket &#10646; & #x2996;
📻 Radio &U + 1F4FB; & #128251;
🍺 Beer Mug Emoji &U+1F37A & #127866
𝆛 Ornament Stroke-1 &U + 1D19B; & #119195;
🇮🇲 Isle of Man &U+1F1EE U+1F1F2 & #127470 #127474
Black-feathered South East Arrow #x27B4;
🇰🇮 Kiribati &U+1F1F0 U+1F1EE & #127472 #127470
🐃 Water Buffalo &U+1F403 & #128003
🐹 Hamster Face &U+1F439 & #128057
🌡 Thermometer #x1F321;
🍋 Lemon Emoji &U+1F34B & #127819
🇹🇱 Timor-Leste &U+1F1F9 U+1F1F1 & #127481 #127473
Maltese Cross #10016;
🂐 Domino Tile Vertical-06-03 #x1F090;
Leftwards Two-headed Triple Dash Arrow #x2B37;
🂊 Domino Tile Vertical-05-04 #x1F08A;
🥴 Woozy Face &U+1F974 & #129396
Black Upper Right Triangle &#9701; & #x25E5;
🀉 Mahjong Tile Three Of Characters #x1F009;
🐲 Dragon Face &U+1F432 & #128050
🤥 Lying Face &U+1F925 & #129317
𝇗 Climacus &U + 1D1D7; & #119255;
Left Right Arrow With Vertical Stroke #x21F9;
Heavy Black-feathered North East Arrow #x27B9;
🦊 Fox Face &U+1F98A & #129418
Trigram For Mountain &#9782; & #x2636;
🐇 Rabbit &U+1F407 & #128007
😻 Smiling Cat Face With Heart-shaped Eyes #x1F63B;
White Square With Upper Left Quadrant &#9712; & #x25F0;
🐫 Two-Hump Camel &U+1F42B & #128043
🃬 Playing Card Trump-12 #x1F0EC;
Trade Mark #8482;
a a 97
Rightwards Harpoon With Barb Up Above Rightwards Harpoon With Barb Down &#10596; & #x2964;
🇲🇿 Mozambique &U+1F1F2 U+1F1FF & #127474 #127487
Ü Uppercase Accent Trema (U) 220
Upwards Harpoon With Barb Right From Bar &#10588; & #x295C;
Small Less-than &#65124; & #xFE64;
Not Less-than &#8814; & #x226E;
🕥 Clock Face Ten-thirty &#128357; & #x1F565;
Apl Functional Symbol Quad Downwards Arrow #x2357;
Lower Half Inverse White Circle &#9691; & #x25DB;
Small Plus &#65122; & #xFE62;
Wave Arrow Pointing Directly Right #x2933;
🇭🇺 Hungary &U+1F1ED U+1F1FA & #127469 #127482
Lower Right Triangle &#9727; & #x25FF;
Less-than Closed By Curve Above Slanted Equal &#10920; & #x2AA8;
Identical To &#8801; & #x2261;
Rupee #8360;
💓 Beating Heart #x1F493;
Ò Uppercase Accent Grave (O) 210
Up-pointing Triangle With Right Half Black &#9710; & #x25EE;
🇩🇲 Dominica &U+1F1E9 U+1F1F2 & #127465 #127474
Downwards Harpoon With Barb Left Beside Downwards Harpoon With Barb Right &#10597; & #x2965;
🇨🇮 C?te d?Ivoire &U+1F1E8 U+1F1EE & #127464 #127470
🤢 Nauseated Face &U+1F922 & #129314
White Horizontal Ellipse &#11053; & #x2B2D;
🥂 Clinking Glasses Emoji &U+1F942 & #129346
Less-than Or Slanted Equal To With Dot Above &#10881; & #x2A81;
W W 87
Square With Orthogonal Crosshatch Fill &#9638; & #x25A6;
Dot Plus &#8724; & #x2214;
Squared Small Circle &#10695; & #x29C7;
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR China &U+1F1ED U+1F1F0 & #127469 #127472
🥒 Cucumber Emoji &U+1F952 & #129362
💲 Heavy Dollar &U+1F4B2 & #128178
🐰 Rabbit Face &U+1F430 & #128048
Not Greater-than &#8815; & #x226F;
🇸🇩 Sudan &U+1F1F8 U+1F1E9 & #127480 #127465
Upwards Paired Arrows #x21C8;
Triangle With Underbar &#10699; & #x29CB;
🕊 Dove &U+1F54A & #128330
🁖 Domino Tile Horizontal-05-02 #x1F056;
🇧🇬 Bulgaria &U+1F1E7 U+1F1EC & #127463 #127468
Small Dollar &U+FE69 & #65129
Rightwards Arrow Above Almost Equal To &#10613; & #x2975;
🇲🇳 Mongolia &U+1F1F2 U+1F1F3 & #127474 #127475
Square With Upper Left Diagonal Half Black &#9705; & #x25E9;
🧐 Face With Monocle &U+1F9D0 & #129488
𝄢 F Clef &U + 1D122; & #119074;
🇧🇯 Benin &U+1F1E7 U+1F1EF & #127463 #127471
🦛 Hippopotamus &U+1F99B & #129435
Falling Diagonal Crossing Rising Diagonal &#10540; & #x292C;
𝄅 Short Barline &U + 1D105; & #119045;
Black Small Diamond &#11049; & #x2B29;
🐿 Chipmunk &U+1F43F & #128063
South East White Arrow #x2B02;
💀 Skull #128128;
Less-than Above Leftwards Arrow &#10614; & #x2976;
Smiling Face &U+263A & #9786
🇸🇳 Senegal &U+1F1F8 U+1F1F3 & #127480 #127475
🀶 Domino Tile Horizontal-00-05 #x1F036;
Leftwards Two-headed Arrow With Tail With Vertical Stroke #x2B3C;
Downwards Arrow With Corner Leftwards #x21B5;
🇲🇶 Martinique &U+1F1F2 U+1F1F6 & #127474 #127478
😨 Fearful Face &U+1F628 & #128552
Bottom Arc Anticlockwise Arrow #x293B;
🐵 Monkey Face &U+1F435 & #128053
Up Barb Left Down Barb Right Harpoon &#10573; & #x294D;
🃟 Playing Card White Joker #x1F0DF;
🁆 Domino Tile Horizontal-03-00 #x1F046;
🇦🇩 Andorra &U+1F1E6 U+1F1E9 & #127462 #127465

Recently added categories

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