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Microsoft Word: Inserting Symbols

December 9, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

Ever wonder how documents manage to have text that isn’t on your keyboard? Ever wonder what some of those things mean?

Welcome to the world of inserted symbols. They’re under the INSERT tab on Word, and they look like this §, this ®, and this ≤.

Simple Hint: If you have a symbol you know you’re going to use often and don’t want to keep clicking INSERT and then Symbol and then the symbol you want, use copy-and-paste after the first time.

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More Complicated Hint: You can also set up Autocorrect and Shortcut Key options for symbols you use often.

Even More Complicated Hint: If you have a lot of symbols you use routinely, learn their codes. You can get help knowing just which symbol you’re dealing with because its name usually appears in the pop-up window.

Digital Hint: If you’re making text for a website, be aware that not all the symbols you can apply in Microsoft Word will be rendered correctly on all browsers. Check it out in your browser by opening the local file before you upload it.

Common Symbol Meanings

As there are thousands of these things, let’s go over some of the most common:

Trademark, indicating the word/symbol in question is intellectual property and not under public domain.
®Registered, which basically means the same thing as trademark.
©Copyrighted, which specifically means writing, performance, film, recording, or work of art that has been designated as the exclusive legal right of a person or corporation.
Pilcrow sign, indicating the end of a paragraph.
§Sometimes used as a pilcrow sign, but more often as a section sign, indicating the end of a section.
Schwa, the “uh” sound found in an unstressed syllable.
Interrobang, representing a feeling of questioning astonishment. People sometimes use ‽ instead.
ƩSum, used in equations, sometimes informally. It’s also the Latin capital letter Esh.
ΩOhm, a unit of electrical resistance. It used to be drawn upside down. ℧ It’s also the Greek letter omega.
Female symbol
Male symbol

Less Common Symbol Meanings

Seriously, there are thousands, and they can help you do all sorts of things, including writing (symbol by symbol) in script, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and Cyrillic.

Euro (currency)
Euler’s constant
Tricolon, a rhetorical term for a series of three parallel words, phrases, or clauses
µMicro sign, used to represent the prefix multiplier 0.000001 (1 × 10-6 or one millionth)
Sound recording copyright
Scruple, ancient symbol of apothecaries’ weight system of 1.295 978 2 grams

Julia H. ☺☺ ☺ ☺ ♡ ♡ ♡

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