How to Make Shapes & Symbols Using a QWERTY Keyboard

Written by pete campbell
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How to Make Shapes & Symbols Using a QWERTY Keyboard
Even if the buttons don't show them, a standard keyboard can create a number of symbols and shapes. (Keyboard image by S.Q T from

Looking down at a standard QWERTY keyboard, there's a noticeable lack of symbols and foreign characters, even if a person takes into account the "shift" key, which allows for the easy typing of several common symbols. However, while they may not show up on the actual buttons, it's easy to type a number of foreign characters, odd symbols and shapes. A person just needs to know the appropriate input codes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • QWERTY keyboard with a numeric keypad

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  1. 1

    Print out a list of symbol codes from an online database of the keyboard shortcuts. A number are freely available, including one from Penn State University. (See References)

  2. 2

    Open some sort of word processing software, e-mail software, or other program that allows for typing so the codes can be tested.

  3. 3

    Type out the appropriate code for the desired symbol, consulting the printed symbol chart. The typical code requires holding down the "Alt" key while using the numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard to type a specific sequence of four numbers. For example, the symbol "¶" is created by holding down "Alt" and typing "0182" on the keypad.

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