Writer Pro Tips: Special Character Keyboard Shortcuts

Writer’s Relief
5 min readOct 17, 2019

There can be nothing more daunting than finding the special character or symbol you need to properly convey your message. Sure, you can type seventy-five degrees or Copyright 2019 John Doe, but that can become inconvenient for the writer and just as overwhelming to the reader. So we’re going to show you how to easily type special characters without the need to open the Character Map (or, for our Mac users, the Keyboard Viewer and/or Character Palette). Ready? Let’s go

Writer Pro Tips: Secret Keyboard Shortcuts For Typing Special Characters

Getting special characters and symbols to display begins with pressing and holding the ALT key while typing a combination of numbers on the keypad (usually found on the right side of your keyboard — not the number keys in the top row!). For Macs, the option key replaces the ALT key, followed by a corresponding letter or key combination.

Let’s take a look at how to type some of the more common special characters and symbols:

Legal Symbols

If you’re aspiring to be the next John Grisham or Paul Madriani — or even if you’re just helping out a lawyer friend with his or her paperwork — you may need to type a legal symbol. The most common symbol in legal writing is §, which stands for “section.” In years past (and unless we had access to a printing press), we would have to type either the word “section” or, more commonly, “SS,” to denote a legal section. Now, it’s as simple as holding down the ALT key and typing 0–1–6–7 on the number pad! For Mac users, you hold down the option key and type 6.

Copyright and trademark symbols are also some commonly used special characters. Instead of typing © to designate copyright, you can hold down the ALT key and type 0–1–6–9 (Macs use option+g) to get the © symbol. Registered trademarks (®) can be typed with ALT+0–1–7–4, or option+r on a Mac. Trademarks, or words, names, or logos that represent a company that makes a product, can be designated with a ™ symbol. Instead of typing “TM,” ALT+0–1–5–3 (or option+2 on a Mac) will create this symbol.

The odd man out is the symbol for a service mark. A service mark is used for words, names, or logos that represent a company that…

Writer’s Relief

Author’s Submission Service Est. 1994. We help authors reach their publishing goals with targeted submissions to literary agents and editors.