Keyboard symbols exist so that you can type symbols that aren't labeled directly on your keyboard. However, because they're not labeled, it can be difficult for people to remember the most common codes for them.
What Are Keyboard Symbols?
Keyboards simply don't have enough keys for all the letters and symbols people may want to type, so computer keyboard symbols exist as an alternate way to type things that lack a specific key. In Windows, you can use the ALT key in conjunction with your number keypad to create symbols that don't exist on the keyboard. You must have the number lock turned on to use the keypad for creating keyboard symbols. Not all ALT codes are functional with all font styles.
Try the Character Map
Windows includes a built-in feature called the Character Map. You can find the Character Map on the Start Menu, under Accessories>System Tools. When you select the Character Map, you can scroll through all the possible symbols and click on the symbol to insert it. The Character Map also lists the ALT codes, so you can always write down the codes you use most frequently for your reference.
In Microsoft Word, you can also use the Insert Symbol menu to insert a keyboard symbol, instead of using the ALT codes or the Windows Character Map.
Many foreign accent marks can be accessed through ALT keyboard symbols. For a full list of accents and even letters in other scripts, consult the Windows Character Map.
The Most Popular Symbols
While there are up to 300 keyboard symbols, here are a few of the most commonly encountered symbols in regular typing:
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