Sometimes you may want to insert the degree symbol in Microsoft Word to show temperature readings rather than typing the word “degrees.” However, this may not be as easy as it sounds because you won’t find the degree symbol on your keyboard.
There are actually several great ways to do this, including using your keyboard. Even though you don’t see the symbol, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to type it. We focus on Windows here but do provide solutions for macOS and Linux too.
1. Use the Symbol Menu in Word
Microsoft Word and Libre Office come with a built-in special characters menu that you can use to insert the degree sign. To access the symbols menu in Word, simply follow the steps below:
Select the “Insert” tab and navigate to the “Symbols” section towards the far-right end of the screen. Click the “Symbols” icon, and you should see a list of the most common or recently used symbols.
Click the “More Symbols” option and a rectangular grid with a full list of many different symbols will open. Locate the degree sign and click on it. You’ll also be able to see a description of the degree symbol you’ve highlighted just above the “AutoCorrect” button.
Move the cursor to where you want to insert the degree sign in the Word document, then click the “Insert” button in the characters menu. Now every time you open the Symbols menu, you should see the degree sign in the list of the recently-used symbols.
You can go a step further, and if you often use the degree symbol you can create your own shortcut to insert it (we’re going to go with Alt + o, because isn’t a degree symbol a kind of tiny ‘o’?).
Go back to the Symbol window in word, select the degree symbol, then click “Shortcut Key.”
In the “Customize Keyboard” window that pops up, click the “Press new shortcut key” text box, enter the keyboard shortcut you’d like to use then click “Assign”. You can even have more than one shortcut per symbol.
2. Using Copy and Paste
If you rarely use the degree symbol in Microsoft Word, it’s hard to remember keyboard shortcuts or how to open special menus. If this is the case, you can use a simple trick to avoid having to remember anything: copy and paste.
The Wikipedia List of Unicode Characters is a great place to start. Simply use your browser’s search feature to search for the name of the symbol, then copy the symbol and paste it into Word.
CopyPasteCharacter is another great resource. Expand the All Characters menu, which floats as you scroll, to filter characters by type or use the search box within the menu. Then, copy the symbol you want and paste it in your Word doc. You’ll find more characters here than on Wikipedia’s list, so it’s a great option to bookmark to quickly access when you need it. Also, when you click a symbol, you can copy the HTML shortcode if you’re creating web pages in Word.
For frequently used symbols, create a Word doc with just those symbols listed, then copy and paste. To make it easier to use, type the name of the symbol beside it. You will have your own copy and paste resource right on your desktop. This works for all operating systems.
3. Use the Keyboard Shortcut
Using a keyboard shortcut is the easiest method to insert symbols into a document. The only problem is you’ll need to remember some rarely used short codes. You can always keep a Notepad document on your desktop for easy reference. Fortunately, with this method, you just need to hit a combination of keys to insert the degree sign anywhere in a Word document.
The bad thing about this method is that it may not work for you if your laptop keyboard doesn’t have a number pad. Desktop models come equipped with number pads, but most laptops forgo the number pad due to space limitations.
To insert the degree sign, first make press the Num key to enable Num Lock and make those number bad work as numbers rather than their alternative functions.
Then simply follow these two steps:
- Select where you want to insert the degree symbol in Microsoft Word.
- While holding down the Alt key, use the keypad to type “0176.” Release the Alt key, and the degree sign will appear.
Note: for this method to work, the Num Lock on your keyboard MUST be OFF. If it’s ON, the keyboard will not accept numerical input.
If you’d like to know how to insert other symbols using this method, Alt Codes lists most every symbol code.
For macOS, use this keyboard shortcut instead: Option + Shift + 8. Option + K gives you a slightly different degree symbol, so try both to see which looks best for your needs.
Linux uses Unicode versus Alt Codes: Ctrl + Shift + U followed by 00B0. Hit Enter and the degree symbol will appear. Use this guide to learn different ways to insert special characters in Linux.
4. Use Character Map
To use this method, follow the steps below.
- Open your Start menu and type “Character Map” in the search box. Hit Enter. This searches your computer for the Character Map program.
- Double-click the Character Map desktop app that will appear to open the program. Here you’ll find a list of symbols and characters.
- At the bottom of the program, you should see the “Advanced view” box. Click to check it. Skip this step if it’s already checked. The essence of checking the box is to be able to easily find the degree sign from a list of over one-hundred symbols.
- Now it’ll be easy to locate the degree sign. Type “degree sign” in the search box as illustrated below, then click the search button, and all the other symbols will clear, leaving behind only the degree sign.
- Double-click the degree sign, then click “Copy.” Go to the Word document where you want to insert it and click Ctrl + V to paste it. You can use the same procedure to insert any other special character into Word or a webpage.
For macOS users, you have a similar feature called Character Viewer. Use Control + Command + Space to bring up the viewer. You can insert accents, special characters, emojis, and mathematical symbols.
Inserting a degree symbol in Microsoft Word only takes seconds once you know how to do it. No matter which method you prefer, you can finally skip typing out “degrees” and insert the symbol instead. Plus, once you’ve learned to do this, you’ll be able to insert other types of symbols, too.
For more Word-related pointers, read our guide on how to display one page at a time in Microsoft Word. You might also want to learn how to add YouTube or offline videos to Word documents. For many features, you sometimes need to install older versions of the .NET framework for Windows. We have you covered there, too.
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