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: Entering a Degree Sign.

Entering a Degree Sign

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 31, 2015)

Beverly knows that she can add a temperature degree symbol to her document by using the Symbol dialog box. She wonders, though, if there is a keyboard shortcut for adding the symbol. The shortcut would make typing much faster and easier. When you display the Symbol dialog box and select the character you want to insert (in this case the degree symbol), you should see some information about the character at the bottom of the dialog box. In this case, you see the value 176 (the ASCII value for the degree symbol) or 00B0 (the Unicode value for the degree symbol, in hexadecimal). You should also see a shortcut for the symbol which is "Control+@, Space" (without the quote marks). This information provides two ways you can use the keyboard to enter the degree symbol. The first way is to simply use the shortcut shown: Just press Ctrl+@ (remember that you need to hold down the Shift key to get the @ character) and then press the spacebar. Bingo! The degree symbol appears in your document. You could also use the ASCII or Unicode values to enter the character. To use the ASCII value, just hold down the Alt key as you type 0176 on the numeric keypad. To use the Unicode value, type 00B0 (although you can leave off the leading zeroes) and then press Alt+X. If you choose to go the route of using the Unicode value, you should understand that what you have before the code is important. If you have some other number immediately before the code (especially if you shorten it to B0), Word gets confused because it can't tell if the preceding number is part of the code or not. The solution is to put a space before the code and then delete it afterward. If you don't want to use one of these methods to enter the degree symbol, you could also create your own shortcut. Display the Symbol dialog box, select the degree symbol, and then click the Shortcut Key button. Word then lets you decide which shortcut you want to use. Another approach is to create an AutoCorrect entry for the degree symbol. Follow these steps:
  1. Choose AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box, and the AutoCorrect tab should be selected. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  3. In the Replace box, enter a mnemonic you want to use, such as "<o>" (without the quote marks).
  4. With the insertion point in the With box, hold down the Alt key as you type 0176 on the numeric keypad..
  5. Click on Add. The new AutoCorrect entry is added to the list of entries.
  6. Click on OK.
Now, whenever you want a degree symbol all you need to do is type your mnemonic and when you press the spacebar Word expands it to your degree symbol.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7718) 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: Entering a Degree Sign.

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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