How to insert special characters in Excel

Most Excel spreadsheets involve the use of numbers or texts in a cell. When you want to customize your Excel sheet, you can introduce characters and symbols into the sheet. You can add special characters like registered symbols, trademarks or insert symbols like tick marks, arrows, and cross marks. The symbols can either be found on your PC keyboard or Excel symbols. When it comes to inserting symbols and special characters, the type of font used is crucial. Not all fonts will feature the same Excel symbols, in that some of them may miss or be different. Be sure to consider the type of font you are using in your spreadsheet before looking at the various symbols you may need.

Patents, copywriting, and trademarks are virtually everything in today's world. We must learn about Excel symbols as there are hundreds of symbols to add in an excel worksheet that most people are not aware of. In this article, we are going to look at different ways to add symbols and special characters to your excel cell, text, and spreadsheet. Let's take a look.

Ways to insert symbols in Excel

Using the symbol menu

The simplest and most standard way to insert special characters and symbols in an excel worksheet is through Excel's in-built symbol menu. It launches the symbols window that has two tabs; symbols and special characters. As mentioned above, the symbols available in your opened symbols tab depend on the font you are using. It means different fonts have different symbols that they can create. Therefore, do not fret when you find some fonts having more symbols than the one you are using.

The steps to follow when inserting a symbol are below;

1. Begin by placing your cursor at the exact location where you want to place an Excel symbol.

2. Click on the "Insert" tab.

  • Select the "Symbol" option.

3. A window will open. Scroll through to find the symbol you want to insert or choose More Symbols. Use the Font selector option on the top left corner to pick the font you want to browse through. The list of symbols will be quite large and scrolling through them is not an easy task. To simplify this, use the options in the "Subset" drop-down button as it groups the symbols.

4. If you want to insert a character, click "Special Character."

5. Double click on the font you want. The symbol will be inserted in your spreadsheet's chosen location. To insert a special character, click on the one you want to add from the options given. Lastly, click on "Insert."

6. Click "Close."

In case you want to resize your symbol by making it larger or smaller, select it and use the Font size setting to achieve this. It is also advisable to set up AutoCorrect as it will help insert symbols you use frequently.

Using Alt codes

From the method above, inserting a symbol can be a tiresome task. You can get rid of it if you have a numeric keyboard. You can use the Alt codes to get the symbols and special characters. These codes include Unicode (hex)-00A9, ASCII (hex)-00A9, and ASCII (decimal)-169. For ASCII characters, hold the Alt key, type the code.

Copy and paste

All you need is a list of symbols, copy the one you want, and paste it into your Excel worksheet.


From Excel's Symbols menu, the Alt code method, copy and paste, you can easily insert a symbol or character in your worksheet. Using any of the methods above is easy and reliable enough.