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How and when to use ALT codes on your keyboard

Using keyboard and mouse shortcuts to do the tedious everyday office work makes your life just a tiny bit easier, and while sitting in a cubicle somewhere, with neon lighting burning down your neck while Dan Bilzerian smiles at you with contempt through Instagram, you need all the help you can get.

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Better file that report on time, Jim[/caption]

I've recently written a short guide on some of the more useful mouse shortcuts (opens in new tab) to help you get through the day, and have today, together with a co-worker, realised that there is another aspect of Office work that could be improved: typing symbols.

If your work includes typing various symbols like the British pound (£), or you need to use symbols like ® every once in a while, keeping the Insert Symbol window open at all time and browsing around it can be somewhat annoying.

Thankfully, there is a way to bypass that and enter various symbols by using what’s called Alt Codes, shortcuts using the Alt key on your keyboard, together with a numeric code from the numeric side of your keyboard.

So, for example, typing the number 156 while holding the ALT key gives you the GBP symbol (£), while typing 0147 while holding ALT gives you the quotation symbol ().

Keep in mind that if you do not have the numeric keyboard on your computer, unfortunately you won’t be able to do this. Pressing the numbers at the top of your keyboard will not work.

German "scharfes S" (sharp S) is ALT+225 = ß

A half is ALT+171 = ½

A quarter is ALT+172 = ¼

The copyright symbol is ALT+0169 = ©

The original symbol is ALT+0174 = ®

The list of ALT codes is huge, and you can find it on this link (opens in new tab).

What's your most useful shortcut? Tell us in the comments below.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.