How to Use Alt Commands to Type on Windows Keyboard


Alt commands are used in Microsoft Operating Systems to type symbols and characters that don’t have dedicated keys on the keyboard.

Using Alt Commands is as simple as pressing and holding the Alt key while typing the Alt code on the numeric keypad.

Using the Alt code method, I’ll show you how to type any symbol on your keyboard.

To use this Alt code method to type any symbol, you must have a numeric keypad on your keyboard.

using the Numeric keypad to type symbols with Alt Commands

In some laptops, the extended numeric keypad may not be available. No worries if that is you. After this, I’ll explain how to use Alt Commands on a laptop without a numeric keypad (Numpad).

Here are the steps you can use to type any symbol on your keyboard. I’ll show you how to use the Cent symbol Alt code to demonstrate. I’ll also list most of the Alt commands below this guide for your perusal.

  • Open your text editor where you need to type the symbol or character.
  • Place your insertion pointer where you need the symbol.
  • Press and hold down the Alt key.
  • Whilst pressing down the Alt key, use the numeric keypad to enter the symbol’s Alt Code (0162 for Cent Symbol). Here is a list of all the Symbols and their Alt Codes.
  • Release the Alt key after you’ve entered the code.

When you let go of the Alt key, the desired symbol will appear right where your cursor was previously.

Rules for using the Alt Codes

  • Before typing the code, make sure you hold down the Alt key.
  • The alt code must be entered using the numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard.
  • Because the code is entered with the numeric keypad, the Num Lock must be enabled.
  • The hidden numeric keypad should be activated if you’re using a laptop without a separate numeric keypad. To turn it on, hold down the Fn key and the NmLk key at the same time. Depending on the model, hidden numeric keypads may or may not be available on your laptop. The numeric keypad is required for the alt code method to work, so if you don’t have one, you won’t be able to type symbols with this method. A way around this is to connect an external keyboard or use an on-screen keyboard.
  • Not all symbols can be typed with the alt code depending on which text editor you are using. Microsoft Word is required for the use of some of the Alt Commands. So if a particular code isn’t working, trying typing it in Microsoft Word.

Using Alt Commands  on a Laptop

Some laptops don’t have enough room for a separate numeric keypad on the right-hand side. 

And for the Alt code method to work, you’ll need the numeric keypad on your keyboard, as I already mentioned in this article.

Some laptop numeric keypads are merged into the main keyboard where the right-hand fingers type.

using Alt Commands on a laptop

Note: Some laptops have a number pad built into the main keyboard, while others don’t. If you’re using a laptop that doesn’t have this Numpad at all, you’ll need to either attach an external keyboard with a numeric keypad or continue reading to learn how to use the on-screen keyboard.

Finally, follow these steps to use Alt Commands on laptops that are compatible:

  • Check to see if your laptop has a separate numeric keypad or a hidden one like the one shown in the picture below.
using Alt Commands on a laptop
  • Look up the alt code of the symbol that you’d like to type. Here’s the list of Alt Codes.
  • Activate the Num Lock feature on your keyboard. The Num Lock key is located somewhere on your keyboard (It might be called NumLock, or NumLk, or Num, or even ScrLk). To activate the Num Lock, press Fn and this key at the same time.
  • Press and hold down the Alt key.
  • As you hold down the Alt key, enter the Alt code for the symbol or character you want to type.
  • After you’ve entered the code, release the Alt key.

When you release the Alt key after typing the code, the symbol or character whose Alt code you typed will appear immediately where the cursor was placed.

This is how you can use Alt Commands on a laptop without a numeric keypad.

What follows next, if your laptop isn’t up to snuff, may be helpful to you.

Using Alt Codes on keyboards without Numpad

If you don’t have a numeric keypad on your laptop or keyboard, you can use Alt Commands to type any symbol or character on the Windows on-screen keyboard. This is the only way to use Alt codes on keyboards without Numpad.

These instructions will guide you through using an onscreen keyboard for this task.

  • Open the on-screen keyboard.
Using onscreen keyboard to type Alt Commands
  • Click the NumLock key on the virtual keyboard to turn it on.
  • Press and hold the Alt key on your physical keyboard.
  • Whilst holding down the Alt key on your computer keyboard, click to enter the Alt code on the virtual keyboard.
  • Release the Alt key after entering the code.

The symbol will appear immediately after you release the Alt code.

List of Alt Commands

Conclusion

There are several ways to type Alt Commands.

The onscreen keyboard should be very helpful if your laptop lacks a numeric keypad.

As a reminder, Alt Commands are only available on Windows. If you want to use them on a Mac computer, they won’t work because it has its own set of shortcuts.

This concludes our discussion.

For any questions or comments about this guide, please feel free to leave them below.

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