How to Enter Music Symbols in Word

By David Wayne

When it comes to adding music symbols to Word files, you have two choices: insert a special character using its Unicode value or paste in a clip art image. Each method has its advantages and drawbacks, and the state of your Word file typically determines your choice. If you're using a font that doesn't support unusual Unicode symbols, you can either use a different font for music symbols or insert an image. Many websites offer free music clip art images, although you don't have the flexibility to enlarge them as much as font symbols because raster images become pixelated when you scale them up too much.

Insert Scalable Font Glyphs

Step 1

Click a place in the document body where you want to insert a music symbol. Select the font you want to use if it's different than the currently selected one. If your first font choice doesn't offer music symbols, you can try different fonts while browsing Unicode characters. Most system fonts included with Windows support the full range of Unicode symbols.

Step 2

Click “Insert” and select “Symbol” to open the Symbol gallery. Confirm that “Unicode (Hex)” is selected in the From drop-down menu and that “Normal Text” is selected in the Font menu.

Step 3

Visit the Unicode website for a reference table of the 222 available music symbols and their Unicode values (link in Resources).

Step 4

Enter the symbol's Unicode value in the Character Code field and press “Enter.” If your font supports the symbol, it's highlighted in the Symbol gallery, and you can insert it by clicking “Insert” and “Close.” If the symbol isn't highlighted, select a different font from the Font menu.

Insert Music Clip Art

Step 1

Visit a clip art website such as eDigg, Musical Clipart or Webweaver to download music symbol images (links in Resources). Clip art offers many styles not supported by fonts, and for most purposes, you can resize raster images to fit your document.

Step 2

Click the area in your Word document where you want to insert the music symbol. Select the “Insert” tab and choose “Pictures” to open the Insert Picture window.

Step 3

Select a music symbol image from your computer and click “Insert.” Resize the image by left-clicking and dragging one of its object handles located in each corner of the object frame.

Tips & Warnings

  • After inserting a Unicode music symbol into a document, Word saves the character in the Recently Used Symbols menu in the Symbol gallery. To use the symbol again, select it from the menu and click “Insert.” Alternatively, highlight it within your document and press “Ctrl-C” to copy it to the clipboard, then paste it by pressing “Ctrl-V.”
  • Word organizes your projects by embedding image files in documents by default, but you can save time and reduce the file size by linking the image instead. In the Insert Picture dialog, select “Link to File” from the Insert drop-down menu. While this option prevents Word from copying the image and inflating the document's file size, moving the document or the image to a different folder breaks the link.
  • Information in this article applies to Microsoft Word 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.