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Time-Saving Alt Keyboard Shortcuts

Updated on January 6, 2018
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green has written extensively for the web and shares tips and tricks about online writing and blogging.

Shortcuts Save the Day

Why Use Shortcuts?

Sooner or later, if you use a computer keyboard, you will morph into using shortcut keys. These keys are a time-saver and instead of having to stop whatever you are typing and trying to hunt up a symbol you are wishing to insert, with a few keystrokes, you can easily add whatever you need.

Some symbols are already available to you and they live above your number keys at the top of your keyboard, such as ! @ # $ % and more. But there are many other signs, symbols and accented letters that you may need to add at times. These aren't in plain view and you either have to hunt up a symbol chart or use shortcuts to insert them.

What if you need to insert the copyright symbol or other oft-used symbols and signs, such as the trademark or registered symbol, a currency symbol or an accented letter?

Savvy writers and keyboarders rely on tried-and-true Alt-key shortcuts and tend to use certain ones over and over again, depending on the nature of their work.

Now, one does have to memorize which keys to use in order to insert a symbol but with a bit of practice, this is easy to master. Once you do, you will find using Alt shortcuts so much easier.

In this article, we will look at some Alt shortcuts and by the time you finish reading, you will know how to use these in your computing.

Copyright Symbol Alt Shortcut

Let's look at two scenarios...

Scenario #1

You are busy typing away in Word. You want to add the copyright symbol but, if you are like many people, you haven't the foggiest as to how to insert that particular item using your keys. So, you go to Insert, then you go to Symbol, then you open another page (depending on your version of Word), then you hunt for ©, look on the chart, then continue from there. If all goes well, you manage to insert the symbol into your document. And if you are like most people, you think, man, there's got to be an easier way.

That's a lot of steps to complete one simple task, isn't it? I don't know about you but the last thing I want to do when I'm busily typing away is to have to interrupt the flow, detour, and hunt up a symbol from a chart.

Symbol Chart

Do you really want to have to wade through all of this to find the symbol you are looking for?
Do you really want to have to wade through all of this to find the symbol you are looking for?

Scenario #2

Or you post something at Facebook and then figure you should maybe copyright it. But how on earth do you do that there? Because you aren't working in Word, you don't have the Word chart to fall back on.

How on earth do I DO that? Ugh!

Alt Shortcut Keys for the Copyright Symbol

If you are working in Word:

Insert your cursor where you want the symbol to appear, then press Alt + Ctrl + C and like magic © appears.

If you're at Facebook:

Make sure that your cursor is positioned inside the text box, then use the numeric keypad to the right on your keyboard and hit Alt + 3000. This works for both messages and posts.

After you try this a time or two, you will marvel at how easy it is.

Trademark & Registered Symbol

If you are typing in Word and need to add a trademark or a registered symbol, use the same Alt + Ctrl keys and simply add T for trademark or R for registered.

What this looks like:

Alt + Ctrl + T = ™

Alt + Ctrl + R = ®

Another version of this is Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Alt + R (same thing). You press the keys simultaneously.

Bullet Point Alt-Key Shortcut

This is a neat one. Depending on what program you are working in, you may be hard-pressed when it comes to formatting posts. Some programs and online editors allow for bullets points but some do not. What to do if you want to insert a bullet point but have no way to do so? Simply press the shortcut keys Alt + 7 and viola! you've created a bullet point. In other words, Alt + 7 = •

This is also handy if you are creating a post at Facebook and wish to insert bullet points. The same shortcut keys work there both in page posts and in messages.

Sometimes, you'll be creating text and whatever box or capsule you are working in, tends to run everything together. You can make your words look more readable by using bullets to break up text. This neat trick can be used right here at HubPages in callout boxes.

How to Add Bullets to Callout Boxes

You can insert bullet points right in this callout. This is particularly handy because currently, you can't add a space in these boxes; so bullets are the next best thing.

• Text doesn't run together.

• Improves readability.

Time For Fun

What about Alt shortcuts for fun symbols?

♥ Say it With Hearts ♥

Alt-Key Shortcut for Making a Heart

Let's face it, computing isn't and shouldn't always be no-nonsense. As people have become accomplished users of virtual and social media, it comes as no surprise that fun symbols have crept in. After all, reading or creating dry text doesn't add a personal touch, does it? Many users opt to add symbols and icons to their messages and posts to personalize them. When you can't speak in person, these can be the next best thing and they help to convey emotions that text does not.

The heart icon is used frequently for socializing and for sending messages to loved ones. While inserting a heart symbol is certainly not crucial, this is still an Alt-key shortcut that is worth a mention here.

How to add a heart using shortcut keys?

Using your numeric keypad to the right side of your main keys, simply type Alt + 3.

In other words, Alt + 3 = ♥. Easy-peasy, right?

As can be seen, none of these shortcuts are overly hard to commit to memory.

Hmm... this isn't as hard as I thought it was gonna be...

Cheat Sheet For Fun Symbols

happy face
Alt + 1
sad face
Alt +2
Alt + 3
musical note
Alt + 13
musical notes
Alt + 14
Alt + 15

Experimenting With Alt + Number Shortcuts

Now, that you've gotten your feet wet (in this case, actually your fingers) and feel a bit more confident using shortcut keys, why not have some fun with this? You already know that Alt + a number, will create different symbols, so why not discover others that just might be suited for you?

Try this:

Alt + 1, Alt + 2, and continue right up to 20. If you did so, you should be seeing something like this:

☺☻♥ ♦ ♣ ♠ • ◘ ○ ◙ ♂♀♪♫☼►◄↕‼ ¶

As can be seen, there are many combinations and if you go through different ones, you will no doubt find symbols you use most often. It's an idea, of course, to jot these shortcut combos down and then commit them to memory.

Alt + Multiple Numbers

How to Add the Degree Symbol

What if you are typing away and wish to insert the degree symbol? You can also do this using your Alt key combined with numbers. The two examples below may be a little harder to remember but worth committing to memory. If you create recipes and cooking posts or if you have a job related to weather and temperatures, knowing how to make the degree symbol would come in very handy.

Alt + 248 = ° or Alt + 0176 = °

These examples show that you aren't just limited to Alt + just one number. If you are adventurous, you may also wish to try out multiple numbers and combinations of numbers.

What symbols do you insert most often?

See results

Smarter, Not Harder

As has been shown in this article, if you need to insert something, this can be done using Alt in combination with other keys. When it comes to computing, while there's usually more than one way to do something, it makes sense to work smarter and not harder.

© 2016 Athlyn Green

What are your thoughts?

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    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 12 months ago from West Kootenays

      Yes, it truly helps to memorize some of these--makes computing that much faster.

    • Paxash profile image

      Darcie Nadel 13 months ago from Louisiana

      This is very handy. I'm going to have to hold on to this article for future reference. Thanks for writing it!

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 14 months ago from West Kootenays

      Hi, I'm so glad this info was helpful.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 14 months ago from Brazil

      I knew there was an easier way than going to the character menu. I am going to book mark this as I tend to use these frequently when I write and hadn't found a good source of information about it before your hub.