Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Creating Compound Characters.

Creating Compound Characters

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 13, 2018)

Felipe asked if there is a way to place the ^ sign on top of different letters. Felipe writes about mathematics, and such compound characters are very necessary for the type of writing he does.

Some compound characters are already available within Word. These depend on the typefaces you use in your document; you can easily insert special compound characters by using the Symbol dialog box. Select the character you want, and then click on Insert.

If there is not a ready-made compound character, you can use Word's special fields to synthesize your own. For instance, if you want to place the ^ symbol over the top of the letter N, then you can follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the compound character to appear.
  2. Press Ctrl+F9 to insert field braces.
  3. Type EQ \o(N,).
  4. Position the insertion point between the comma and the closing parenthesis.
  5. Hold down the Alt key as you use the numeric keypad to type 0136. This inserts the ^ character that is most appropriate to creating the compound character.
  6. Delete any extra spaces appearing in the field.
  7. Press Shift+F9 to show the results of the field code.

If you want to change the characters that make up the compound character, change the N in step 3 and use a different character in step 5.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1528) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Creating Compound Characters.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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