(Revised 11-12-01 to note changes in XP)








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How to print this page

Using the Windows Character Map
New tip 7-26-02 See below

Copied from Ask Leo 12-31-00 in Access Magazine. Copyrights remain with original authors. It is duplicated here for educational purposes only and not to be distributed. Please go to the actual web sites for latest information.

Here are some sites that explain the Character map:

Q. How do I input symbols such as the degrees sign, the cents symbol or an accented letter in my Outlook Express e-mail messages like I can with Word? -- Michael J. Hogan, St. Charles, Ill.

Loren's note: This process works in any e-mail, not just Outlook. It also works in any wordprocessor, including Word and gives you access to the character sets in all the installed fonts. Words's Insert Symbol only works for symbol fonts and if you check the various fonts on your computer, you will find characters in every font.

A. Microsoft Word uses the Symbol command from the Insert menu to insert special characters. There's no similar command in Outlook Express, but you can still enter those special characters if you know how.

In Windows, the easiest way to insert a character that doesn't appear on the keyboard is to open the Character Map utility (found on the Start menu under Programs, then Accessories; in Windows 98 go a layer deeper under System Tools), select the font you're using and click the character you want. Press the Select and Copy buttons to copy it to the clipboard. Then you can paste it into any document.

If you don't have Character Map on your computer, you can install it using the Add/Remove Programs control panel. Click on the Windows Setup tab, double-click on System Tools, and check the box next to Character Map.

Windows also allows you to enter special characters directly using the Alt key and the numeric keypad (Num Lock must be on). For example, enter an "e" with an acute accent mark by typing Alt-0233. Alt-0176 is the degrees symbol and Alt-0162 is the cents sign. For a table of all the standard characters and their keycodes visit any of the sites listed above -- just add a zero to the beginning of each code listed after using the Alt key.

Loren's note: To see the ascii number for use on the keyboard, open the character map and select (highlight any character. The keystroke is listed in the lower right corner. Note the example below where the Arial font is selected and the copyright symbol is highlighted. The listed Keystroke is Alt+0169. Try typing this keystroke.

The above chart is as displayed in Windows 95, 98, 98SE, Me. Windows 2000 and XP and Vista look like the display below:

As you can see, the function is the same, just the appearance has changed.

To view a chart of ANSI characters, go to http://www.fingertipsoft.com/3dkbd/ansitable.html or Here.

If you find the size of the characters too small, click here to see my Word tip on symbol size. While there, you may want to look at the other tips for Microsoft Word. Click here for the index.

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