IT tips #10: Customise keyboard shortcuts to enter weird characters in Word

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If there’s an off-beat symbol that you have to put in to documents regularly (in my case, it’s the  P in a circle that means ‘phonographic copyright’) you can cut out several steps by assigning the symbol to a keyboard shortcut. Here’s how to do it in Word for Mac 2008, but the process is fairly similar in other versions and platforms. Instructions below, or watch the video (make it full screen so you can see it properly).

  1. Go to Tools>Customize keyboard
  2. From the menu that appears, choose ‘Insert‘ on the left, and then ‘symbol‘ on the right (NB: Don’t choose ‘InsertSymbol’)
  3. When the character sets appear, choose the character set that contains the symbol you need (in my case, it’s Webdings)
  4. Pick the character that you need
  5. Press OK
  6. Place the cursor in the ‘Press new keyboard shortcut‘ field
  7. Now press any combination of keys – in my case, I pressed ctrl+alt+command+P (all three keys on the left of the space bar + the letter P, because it’s easy to remember)
  8. Press ‘Assign‘ (don’t forget this step, otherwise it won’t work)
  9. Press ‘OK”
  10. Try it out: in your Word document, press the key combination that you assigned to the special character, and watch it appear!

 

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