Quickly access special characters in Windows

Do you often use special characters in your word processing documents? For example, suppose that you frequently use euro currency figures and use the euro sign. If so, chances are good that each time you need to use the euro sign, you access Character Map from the Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Character Map menu, select your font, and scroll through the table to locate the euro sign. Then, you double-click the character to copy it to the Clipboard, return to your document, and paste the character where you want. That’s a lot of extra work!

Fortunately, there’s an easier way. The next time you locate your special character in Character Map, look at the bottom right corner of the Character Map window to find a keyboard shortcut that you can use to insert the special character. (For instance, the euro sign is [Alt]0128.) Write it down, and whenever you want to insert your special character, here’s what you can do:

  1. Turn on [Num Lock] if it’s not already on.
  2. Position the cursor where you want to insert your special character.
  3. Press and hold down [Alt].
  4. While holding down [Alt], use the number pad to enter the number assigned to your special character. For example, to insert the euro sign, you would enter [Alt]+0128.
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