Math symbols are signs or characters use to represent a mathematical object, an action on mathematical objects or their relation, or to structure other symbols in a formula.
This guide will teach you how to type Math Symbols on a Mac or Windows PC using shortcuts on the keyboard, plus other amazing methods.
There are different methods for typing these characters for different documents depending on the Operating System you are using. You’ll pick up each of these techniques in no time.
Let’s get started.
Type Math Symbols using Alt Code (Windows)
To type any Math Symbol with this method, press and hold the alt key, then type the Math Sign alt code.
All the math symbols Alt Codes are given in the table below.
|Math Symbol Description||Math Symbols||Math Alt Codes|
|Plus Sign||+||Alt + 43|
|Minus Sign||–||Alt + 45|
|Multiplication Sign||×||Alt + 0215|
|Divide by / Division sign||÷||Alt + 0247|
|Percentage Sign||%||Alt + 37|
|Per mille (per thousand)||‰||Alt + 0137|
|Plus or Minus||±||Alt + 241|
|Exactly Identical||≡||Alt + 240|
|Equals||=||Alt + 61|
|Approximately equal||≈||Alt + 247|
|Less Than||<||Alt + 60|
|Greater Than||>||Alt + 62|
|Greater than or equal||≥||Alt + 242|
|Less than or equal||≤||Alt + 243|
|Square Root||√||Alt + 251|
|Open Bracket||(||Alt + 40|
|Close Bracket||)||Alt + 41|
|Fraction Slash||/||Alt + 47|
|Quarter||¼||Alt + 0188|
|Half||½||Alt + 0189|
|Three quarters||¾||Alt + 0190|
|Decimal Point||.||Alt + 46|
|Power n||ⁿ||Alt + 252|
|To the power of 1||¹||Alt + 0185|
|squared||²||Alt + 0178|
|cubed||³||Alt + 0179|
|Pi||π||Alt + 227|
|Degree sign||°||Alt + 248|
|Number Sign||#||Alt + 35|
|Infinity||∞||Alt + 236|
|Micro Symbol||µ||Alt + 230|
|Suggest definition||∩||Alt + 239|
|Top half||⌠||Alt + 244|
|Bottom Half||⌡||Alt + 245|
|Partial Differential||∂||Alt + 8706 (W)|
|Increment||∆||Alt + 8710 (W)|
|N-Ary||∏||Alt + 8719 (W)|
|Right Angle||∟||Alt + 8735 (W)|
Note: the alt codes with (W) at the end mean that they can only work in Microsoft Word.
Below is a step-by-step guide to type any of these Mathematical Signs with the help of the alt codes in the above table.
- To begin, open the document in which you want to type the Mathematical Symbols. It could be Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or even in your web browser.
- Press the Num Lock key to turn it on. In other words, make certain that the numeric keypad’s keys are not disabled.
- Hold down the Alt key and type the alt code of the Mathematical Sign you want to type using the numeric keypad. The table above contains the alt codes for the various Math Symbols.
- Now release the Alt key after typing the alt code with the numeric keypad.
NOTE: This option is only for Windows users. To type Math Symbols on Mac, refer to the next option.
How to Type Mathematical Symbols on Mac (Shortcut)
One of the easiest ways to get math symbols on Mac is to use the keyboard viewer.
A keyboard viewer is a tool that displays an on-screen keyboard.
With it, you can get all the math symbols and characters you want.
Obey the steps below to show the Keyboard Viewer in the menu bar for Mac:
- Click on the Apple Icon on the upper left corner of the menu bar.
- A list of items appears in a drop-down, simple click on System preference.
- Click to select the Keyboard tab.
- Select this checkbox: Show keyboard, Emoji, & Symbol Viewers in menu bar.
Obey the steps below to type math symbols on Mac using the Keyboard Viewer:
- Click on the Keyboard Viewer icon.
- Select Show Character Viewer.
- Select the Math Symbols category from the symbol library.
- From there, double click any math symbol you want to insert into your document.
These are the steps you may use to get math symbols on Mac.
Insert Mathematical Symbols in Word
NOTE: As shown already, using the above methods can help you get math symbols on both Windows and Mac.
However, you can continue reading below if you want to learn more methods about how to insert these characters specifically into your Word document.
In addition to the alt code method, there are two other ways to insert the Math Symbols in Microsoft Word. The first method involved using the insert symbol dialog box, while the second method involved using a keyboard shortcut that only works in Word.
Let’s explore these options one after the other.
Using Insert Symbol dialog
To insert the Math Characters using the insert symbol dialog box, obey the following instructions:
- Open up your Word document and place the cursor where you want to insert the Character.
- On the Insert tab, go to Symbols > Symbol > More Symbols.
- The Symbol dialog box will appear. Select Mathematical Operators from the “Subset:” drop-down list. This will display all the symbols under this category.
- Locate the Math Symbol you wish to insert and double-click on it. Alternatively, click to select your desired Math Symbols and click on the Insert button to insert into your document.
- Close the dialog.
These are the steps you may use to insert these symbols in Word using the Insert Symbol dialog box.
Using keyboard shortcut for Word
Each of the Math Operators has its own set of shortcuts designed only to function in Microsoft Word.
Thus, if you want to type these symbols in a program other than Word, turn to other methods discussed in this post.
Below are the various shortcuts to type Math Symbols in Microsoft Word:
|Description||Math Symbol||Shortcut in Word|
|Plus Sign||+||002B, Alt + X|
|Minus Sign||–||2212, Alt + X|
|Multiplication Sign||×||00D7, Alt + X|
|Obelus / Division ign||÷||00F7, Alt + X|
|Percentage Sign||%||0025, Alt + X|
|Per mille (per thousand)||‰||0089, Alt + X|
|Plus or Minus||±||00B1, Alt + X|
|Exactly Identical||≡||2261, Alt + X|
|Equals||=||003D, Alt + X|
|Not Equal to||≠||2260, Alt + X|
|Approximately equal||≈||2248, Alt + X|
|Less Than||<||003C, Alt + X|
|Greater Than||>||003E, Alt + X|
|Greater than or equal||≥||2265, Alt + X|
|Less than or equal||≤||2264, Alt + X|
|Square Root||√||221A, Alt + X|
|Degree sign||°||00B0, Alt + X|
|Infinity||∞||221E, Alt + X|
|Summation||Σ||2211, Alt + X|
|Partial Differential||∂||2202, Alt + X|
|Increment||∆||2206, Alt + X|
|N-Ary||∏||220F, Alt + X|
|Right Angle||∟||221F, Alt + X|
Obey the following instructions to use these Math Symbols shortcuts:
- Open your MS Word and place the curser where you need to insert the symbol.
- Type the Unicode for the symbol (codes are in table above)
- Immediately after the code, simply press Ctrl+X on your keyboard.
These steps will help you type any math symbol you need.
Insert Mathematical Signs in Excel
If you are using a Windows PC, you can easily type any math symbol in Excel. Mac users can also use the shortcuts stated in section two of this tutorial.
However, if you are looking for another way to achieve this specifically in Microsoft Excel, the steps below will show you.
To insert Math Signs in Excel:
- Launch Excel.
- Select the cell that will contain the character.
- On the Insert tab, click on the Symbols drop-down button and select Symbol from the list.
- The Symbols Dialog box will appear. From the “Subset:” drop down list, select Mathematical Operators. All the symbols under this group will appear.
- Click to select the particular Math Characters you want to insert, then click on the Insert button. Alternatively, double click on the symbol to insert it into your Excel document.
These are all the steps needed to insert any of the Math Symbols you need.
Insert Math Characters in PowerPoint
Just like on Microsoft Word and Excel, you can use the Math Symbols alt code to type them into your PowerPoint document.
However, if you want another way to perform this task especially for PowerPoint, keep reading.
To insert Math Symbols in PowerPoint:
- Open your PowerPoint document.
- Place the insertion pointer on the slide you need the character.
- Go to the Insert tab on the ribbon.
- Click on the Symbols button to launch the Symbol dialog box.
- The Symbol dialog box will appear. From the “Subset” drop-down list, select Latin-1 Supplement. You should see all the Math Signs under this category of symbols.
- Select the particular Math Symbol you wish to insert and click on the Insert button. Otherwise, just double-click on the symbol you want to insert into your PowerPoint document.
- Close the dialog.
These are the steps you need to be able to insert the Mathematical Symbols in Microsoft PowerPoint using the Insert symbol dialog.
Copy and Paste Math Symbols
Another easy way you can get the Math Symbols on any PC (whether Windows or Mac) is to use my favorite method: copy and paste.
All you have to do is to copy the symbol from somewhere like a web page or the character map for windows users, and head over to where you need the symbol (say in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint), then hit Ctrl+V to paste.
You can also use the Character Map to copy and paste any symbol or character on Windows. It contains every symbol or character you can think of.
Obey the following instructions on how to use the Character Map on any Windows PC.
- Click on the Start button and search for Character Map. The Character Map app will appear in the search results, click on it to open.
- The Character Map dialog will appear.
- Select the Math Symbols you want to insert by double-clicking on it, it should appear in the Character to copy: field, then click on the Copy button to copy the symbol.
- Switch to your document where you want to paste the copied symbol, place the insertion pointer at the desired location and press Ctrl + V to paste.
This is how you may use the Character Map dialog to copy and paste any symbol on Windows PC.
Among all these several options to type the Mathematical Signs, I think using the alt code method for Windows is the fastest option, provided you know the alt code for that particular symbol you want to type.
If you happen to use the Mathematical Signs often, you may consider making a cheat sheet for your reference.
Using the keyboard shortcut to type Math Symbols is also a handy method for Mac users.
However, you can also use the mouse-based approach if you are inserting these symbols in any of the Office programs like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.