Champagne Design — PowerPoint Design

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Inserting Symbols in PowerPoint

3 Ways to Insert Symbols in PowerPoint

Quite a multitude of ways to insert symbols in PowerPoint. Choose a method you like and fall back on the others when in doubt. I’ll tell you right away, the last method is the fastest and most efficient. The one I use.

Below is a screen grab of the Symbols icon on the PowerPoint interface, buried in submenus.

Method 1 — Insert Symbol using PowerPoint’s utility

7 tedious clicks to insert a tiny symbol!

7 tedious clicks to insert a tiny symbol!

  1. Place your cursor in your text box, where you need that symbol. The Symbol icon will only be active if you have clicked inside a text box, otherwise it’s greyed-out.
  2. Click on the insert tab.
  3. Move your mouse to the right end of the ribbon and click the Symbol icon.
  4. A window appears with an enormous selection of symbols. Hopefully the symbol you need is located in the normal text series i.e., the font series you are presently using as a default. Otherwise there are 3 wingding series or the symbol series available in the font pull-down menu. Thousands available. You just have to figure out where your symbol is hiding.
  5. We will use the Euro symbol for this example. Once you have located the symbol, click on it, it will appear in the list of recently used symbols, below the main series.
  6. Then you can click insert.
  7. Click close!

Now wasn’t that tedious! A bit faster next time, if you need the same symbol, as it will appear in the bottom list of recently used symbols.

Method 2 — Insert Symbol using the PC’s Character Map

A second way to insert symbols is by pulling-up the character map from your PC’s system menu. The Character Map is located in the
Start Menu / All Programs / Accessories / System Tools /  Character Map

Character-Map icon

Character-Map icon

That’s already way too many clicks, five, and we haven’t even found the symbol we need. If you like the Character Map utility, drag a shortcut to your start menu, it will shorten that path.



Here we go for the second method:

  1. Click the Start menu
  2. Click on All Programs
  3. Click on the Accessories folder
  4. Click on the System Tools sub-folder
  5. Click on the Character Map icon
  6. Scroll to locate your symbol (I found the Euro symbol 11 scroll clicks down in the list!)
  7. Click on the symbol
  8. Click the Select button, it will appear in the Characters to Copy window below
  9. Then click copy. This copies the symbol to your clipboard in memory. No close button here. Just close the Character Map utility.
  10. Go back yo PowerPoint
  11. Click in your text box, where you need that symbol
  12. Click paste in the Home tab( or CTRL-V)

That was 23 clicks to insert a tiny symbol. Ridiculous. Worse than method 1, above.

Method 3 — Insert symbols using ALT key combos 

My favourite method to insert symbols. It requires a bit of memory. Or else a cheat sheet pinned somewhere close by.
If you look at the screen-grab above, the Character Map window, have a look at the bottom Advanced View area. It lists the ALT-key combinations you can use to accomplish your insert-symbol task, much more quickly. Way in the bottom right corner it says that the keystroke for the Euro symbol is ALT-0128. I’ve circled it.
Here we go for method 3:

  1. Place your cursor in your text box, where you want that symbol
  2. Click and hold the ALT key, and at the same time punch in those four digits and let go the ALT key

That was 5 keystrokes! A winner method for me.

Here are the keystrokes I’ve memorize and use daily:

Alt 0150 for the en dash – a dash as long as the letter “n” –
Alt 0151 for the em dash — a dash as long as the letter “m” —

And a few more useful ones

Alt 0169    ©
Alt 0150    –
Alt 0151    —
Alt 0153    ™
Alt 0176    °
Alt 1       ☺
Alt 0188   ¼
Alt 0189    ½
Alt 0190   ¾
Alt 0149    •
ALT 0183  ·
Alt 0128 €

There are many lists on the web showing you all of theses codes. Google “ASCII table” or ASCII list” and you’ll certainly find a site easier to use than the Character Map.Here’s one for Alt Key Combos

☺(Alt 1)

2 comments on “Inserting Symbols in PowerPoint

  1. Pingback: How do I turn on Symbols in PowerPoint?

    • Champagne Design

      The symbols button has its own section in the top ribbon, when you select the insert menu, second last from the right. You can also customize the QAT (Quick Access Toolbar), under “All Commands” instead of “Popular Commands: add Symbols (omega letter as an icon).


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