How to Type Special Symbols and Characters on MS Windows

(Last Updated On: October 11, 2022)

Imagine yourself returning from a business trip abroad and having to type a report. The deadline is tomorrow, and you suddenly realize that you have to use special characters for names and locations. 

The letters “ñ” or “ü” are something you have probably seen, but if you are not a native Spanish or German speaker, you are unlikely to have used them before.

Most Native English speakers stick to the Latin alphabet and symbols that are easily accessible on the QWERTY keyboards

Not knowing how to insert special symbols while using a computer should not be a problem because it is not that difficult to learn. 

How to Type Special Symbols and Characters on MS Windows

1. Touch Keyboard

The first method to insert symbols on MS Windows is via the touch keyboard.

Many Windows PC users are probably not even aware of the feature because they have been using a regular keyboard and did not bother considering that a Touch Keyboard is something available in the first place.

To have the Touch Keyboard appear, right-click on the taskbar and select the “Show touch keyboard button.” A keyboard icon will appear on the sidebar. You can then click on the touch keyboard to bring it up.

If you are familiar with a smartphone or tablet keyboard, you should know what to do next.

Similar to keyboards on mobile devices, you can select a specific character and hold it after clicking with the mouse. An extra window will appear, presenting you with different characters.

You can click on the letter “a,” for instance, and you will see Á,ã, å, and á as a few available options to choose from. 

Finally, you should also notice that the Touch Keyboard has an emoji button that you can also use to insert emojis in your text.

2. Emoji Keyboard

MS Windows also has a separate Emoji Keyboard that users can bring up by holding down the Windows key and hitting the period key. 

The window has a separate symbol tab (look at the top, it is the third from the left). Click on it and pick which of the symbol types you want to insert in your document.

3. US International Keyboard

The US International Keyboard is another method to access special characters on MS Windows. 

Add the keyboard by going to Settings, selecting Time & Language, and clicking on the Language tab. 

In Preferred Languages, click on English and go to Options. You will see the Keyboards tab and Add Keyboard above.

Click the button and scroll until you see the United States-International as an available option.

The US International keyboard should now be added to the keyboard section. After you enable the keyboard, you can use it to insert special characters.

For example, Alt + W produces Å, and Alt + Shift + C is for ¢. You can check the entire shortcut list for the US International keyboard here.

4. Third-Party Tools

Third-party tools are another suggestion that you can consider if you need to type special symbols on MS Windows.

Ranging from cool symbols to fonts, you can copy and paste currency, arrows, hearts, and other characters into your document.

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