Hidden Keyboard Symbols Using ALT Key Codes

Ever wonder how certain characters, letters, signs or symbols are created when they don’t readily appear on your keyboard? You mean there is a hidden or secret formula within your keyboard? Well, not really….. Continue on and learn in this brief tutorial.

Whether you’re a student preparing a research paper, a business executive composing an important project proposal, a blogger looking to familiarize him/herself with lettering shortcuts, or a tourist jotting down memories of your latest vacation, a keyboard symbols chart or glossary can be a helpful reference tool.

Working with Keyboard Symbols Using ALT Codes

alt-keyAlthough a standard computer keyboard contains all of the letters, numbers, and punctuation you need for most compositions, there are times when you may find yourself searching for a special symbol that isn’t readily available on your keyboard. For example, résumé, home décor, tête-à-tête, and à la carte are words you may use when writing in English that still require special accented characters. If you are writing about a particular product, you may also find yourself in need of the copyright (©), registered (®) or trademark (™). Other popular character symbols include… cents (¢), pound (£), Spanish ‘n’ accent (ñ), musical note (♫), sun (☼), heart (♥), male/female (♂/♀), fractions (½)(¼), arrows (↨)(↔), square (■), cross or dagger (†) plus many more.

In most computer education classes, students are taught to create these keyboard symbols using Alt codes. When creating keyboard symbols with this method, remember the following points:

  • The Num Lock key needs to be on.


    Number Keypad on right side of keyboard

  • When entering the numbers for the codes, you need to use the number keypad to the right of your keyboard. The codes won’t work with the numbers on the top of the keyboard.
  • Alt codes should work with most standard fonts, but may not be compatible with some of the decorative free fonts you can download online.
  • Alt codes will work in Microsoft Word, but may not work in some other word processing programs.



  • Alt-Codes.net – Easy reference list of alt key codes, alt symbols & characters – showing characters table 0-255 decimal numbers – explains how to use alt code characters.
  • Ted Montgomery.com – has compiled a fairly extensive list of keyboard symbols, including codes for hearts, stars, arrows, musical notes, fractions, foreign language accents, and several other decorative shapes and useful characters.
  • MistyWindow.com – has a huge list of special characters and symbols for HTML and XHTML.