How to Make Keyboard Symbols Using the Alt Key

By Marina Martin

Your standard keyboard is capable of typing thousands of characters beyond those that appear on the keys themselves. Many special characters, such as smiley faces, fractions and triangles, have a special code recognized by most computers. When you type this code in conjunction with the "Alt" key, the corresponding special character appears on the screen. You can type these characters in website text boxes, in word processing software such as Microsoft Word or Notepad and in many other locations.

Step 1

Go to "Start" > "All Programs" > "Accessories" > "System Tools" > "Character Map." Find the character or symbol you want. Select the character, and look in the bottom right corner for its Alt code.

Step 2

Press the "Number Lock" or "Num Lock" key to turn on your keyboard's numeric keypad. A light should turn on. If the light is already on, your numeric keypad is already on.

Step 3

Hold down the "Alt" key.

Step 4

Type the numbers, one at a time, that correspond to the special character you want to type.

Step 5

Let go of the "Alt" key. The special character now appears.