How to Use Alt Codes to Type Symbols on the Keyboard


Alt codes are used to type symbols and characters that do not have a dedicated key on the keyboard in personal computers running the Microsoft Operating systems.

You can simply use Alt codes to type stuff by pressing and holding the Alt key while typing the Alt code with the numeric keypad.

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to type any symbol with your keyboard using this Alt code method.

Just so you know, before you can use the Alt code method to type anything, your keyboard must have a numeric keypad.

Keyboard with a Numpad

Some laptop users may notice that their keyboard doesn’t have this extended number pad. If that’s you, don’t worry. In the next section, I’m going to address how to use alt codes on a laptop without the Numpad.

Without any further ado, below are the steps you may use to type any symbol with your keyboard. I’ll demonstrate using the degree symbol Alt code.

  • Open your text editor where you need to type the symbol or character.
  • Place your insertion pointer where you need the symbol.
  • Press and hold down the Alt key.
  • Whilst holding down the Alt key, press the symbol’s Alt Code (0176 for degree). Click here for a list of all the Symbols and their Alt Codes.
  • After typing the code, release the Alt key.

As soon as you release the Alt key, the symbol you want will immediately appear exactly where you place the cursor.

Rules for using the Alt Code

  • You must press and hold down the Alt key before typing the code.
  • You must use the numeric keypad on the right of the keyboard to type the alt code.
  • Since you are using the numeric keypad, the NumLock must be turned on. Turning off the NumLock means the numeric keypad is disabled, and hence no numbers can be typed using the number pad.
  • If you are using a laptop without the numeric keypad, you should first turn on the hidden numeric keypad. with most laptops, you can turn this on by pressing Fn + NmLk keys simultaneously. Not all laptops have a hidden numeric keypad. If it seems missing in yours, then you cannot use the alt code method to type symbols unless you connect an external keyboard that has a numeric keypad.
  • You should also understand that not all symbols can be typed with the alt code depending on the text editor you are working on. Some of the alt codes work only in Microsoft Word. However, the degree symbol Alt code (which I used as an example) works anywhere on Windows such as text editors, on the web, forms, and so on.

How to Use Alt Codes on a Laptop

Some laptops are too small to have a separate numeric keypad on the right. Some are bigger in size but are designed without this number pad.

And as I already mentioned, to use the Alt code method your keyboard needs to have this numeric keypad.

Some laptop numeric keypads are embedded/hidden within the main keyboard where the right-hand fingers types.

Showing the hidden numpad on Laptops without the seperate numeric Numpad

Note: Whilst some laptops have this number pad inside the main keyboard, some don’t have anything like that. If that’s your laptop, then you’ll need to attach an external keyboard that contains a numeric keypad or move on to the next section that talks about how you may use the on-screen keyboard to perform this task.

With that being said, obey the following steps to use Alt Codes on supported laptops:

  • Step 1: Check and confirm that your laptop has either a separate numeric keypad or the hidden one as shown in the picture below.
Showing the hidden numpad on Laptops without the seperate numeric Numpad
  • Step 2: Find the Alt code you want to use. Click here for all the Symbols Alt Codes.
  • Step 3: Enable your Num Lock. Somewhere on your keyboard has the Num Lock key (It might be called NumLock, or NumLk, or Num, or even ScrLk). Press Fn and this key simultaneously to enable the Num Lock.
  •  Step 4: Hold down the Alt key.
  • Step 5: Whilst holding down the Alt key, press the Alt code whose symbol or character you want to type.
  • Step 6: Release the Alt key after typing the code.

As soon as you let go of the Alt key after typing the code, the symbol or character whose Alt code you typed will immediately appear exactly where you placed the cursor.

And there you have it; a step-by-step guide to use Alt codes on a laptop without the separate numeric keypad.

If your laptop still fails you, the next section may be useful to you.

How to use Alt Codes on keyboards without numpad

If your laptop or keyboard doesn’t have a numeric keypad, you can leverage the Windows on-screen keyboard to type any symbol or character using Alt codes. Either that, or there is no other way to use Alt codes on keyboards with Numpad.

Thus, to use the onscreen keyboard for this task, obey the below instructions.

  • Step 1: Launch the onscreen keyboard.
Using the Onscreen keyboard for Alt Codes
  • Step 2: Make sure to click on the NumLock key to activate it.
  • Step 3: Now that you have the on-screen keyboard with the Numpad, press and hold down the Alt key.
  • Step 4: Whilst holding down the Alt key, type the Alt code whose symbol you want to use.
  • Step 5: Release the alt code after typing the symbol.

As soon as you let release the Alt code, the symbol whose Alt code you typed will be inserted exactly where you placed the insertion pointer.

Conclusion

These are the various ways one can type Alt codes on keyboard.

I believe that using the onscreen keyboard will help you a lot if your laptop doesn’t have a numeric keypad.

It is also worth mentioning that Alt codes are for Windows only. They don’t work on Mac as it also has its own shortcuts.

That’s it for this article.

Please don’t hesitate to comment below if you have any questions or suggestion concerting this guide.

Thanks so much for reading our blog.

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