Assign a Shortcut Key to a Symbol in Word 2016

By Dan Gookin

Word allows you to stick any symbol into a document, providing you know the proper secrets. You can use the Insert tab’s Symbol button or, for many common symbols, keyboard shortcuts are available.

For example, the Copyright symbol has the shortcut key Alt+Ctr+C . Press that keyboard shortcut and you see the © in your document. (The AutoCorrect feature also places that symbol in a document when you type the (C) characters.)

Generally speaking, all symbol keys feature an Alt+X keyboard shortcut. Providing that you know the keyboard’s code value, you can type the character.

For example, to type the right arrow symbol in your text, type 2192 and then press Alt+X. You see the → symbol.

For special characters that don’t have a shortcut key, AutoCorrect assignment, or a memorable code number, you can assign your own shortcut key. Here’s how it works:

  1. Click the Insert tab.

  2. Click the Symbol button and choose More Symbols.

    The Symbols dialog box appears.

  3. Choose a symbol.

    For example, choose the Rightwards Arrow symbol.

    After choosing the symbol, look for the Shortcut Key item near the bottom center of the Symbol dialog box. For the Rightwards Arrow symbol, the shortcut key is defined as 2192, Alt+X.

  4. Click the Shortcut Key button to assign a better shortcut.

    The Customize Keyboard dialog box appears.

  5. Press a shortcut key combination.

    For example, press Ctrl+. (period).

  6. Confirm that the shortcut key combination is not currently assigned.

    After you press the shortcut keys, look in the Customize Keyboard dialog box by the Currently Assigned To item. If it reads [unassigned], you’re good to go. Otherwise, the shortcut is already taken.

    You can choose to replace an existing keyboard shortcut — but understand that doing so means Word’s documentation no longer represents the original keyboard shortcut. Instead, try again at Step 5. Use various combinations of the Ctrl+Alt keys together.

  7. Click the Assign button to create that symbol keyboard shortcut.

Once your new shortcut key combination is assigned, you can start using it.

You may be prompted to save the Normal template when you quit Word. Do so: The keyboard shortcuts you assign are saved with the template.