Japanese, Old English, Latin, a few Indian dialects and some Polynesian languages use macrons in writing to indicate the long sound a letter makes, according to Elizabeth Pyatt of Penn State University. Whether you are creating a report, article or writing a dissertation, you can create the short, straight mark over letters (a macron) in a word by using Microsoft Word 2007's symbol set or by using the operating system's character map to add them to a Word document. Once you are comfortable adding macrons, you can turn frequently used ones into Word Quick Parts.
Open Word and a new or existing document. Type the word needing a macron. Highlight the letter needing a macron and click the "Insert" tab. Click "Symbol."
Click on "More Symbols." In the "Symbol" dialogue box, click the "Symbols" tab. Click the "Subset" list in the top-right and select "Latin Extended A." If the subset field is not there, click the "From" menu at the bottom-right of the screen and select "Unicode" to bring up the subset menu.
Select the letter with the macron from the "Font" field and click "Insert." The "Symbol" dialogue box remains visible. You can then add other letters to the document.
Move the "Symbol" dialogue box by clicking, holding and dragging the box around the screen if you want to use more than one macron in a document. You can make the box larger or smaller so it does not obscure the text by grabbing a corner with your mouse and dragging up or down.
Click "Close" to close the Symbol dialogue box when you are done adding letters to your document or it will remain visible while you work on your document.
Click the "Start" button in the operating system taskbar. Click on "All Programs" and select "Accessories." Select "System Tools" and click "Character Map" to bring up the "Character Map" dialogue box.
Click the "Font" menu and select the Word document font you are using. Click the character with the macron to add, and then click "Select" to add it to the "Characters to Copy" field.
Click "Copy" to copy the letter you need and return to the Word document. Press "Ctrl + V" to paste the character into your document. You can also drag the letter into your document once it's selected.
There is a shortcut for users of Word 2003 and higher. Begin to type a word which needs a macron. When you come to the place in the word where the macron goes, hold down the "Alt" key and type the numeric number for the letter you want. For example, if you want a lower case "o" with a macron, press the "Alt" key and the numbers 0333. You have to use the numeric keypad to type the numbers. See Penn State's "Polynesian Languages with Long Marks" for a list of the numeric keypad shortcuts. Add frequently used macrons to Word's Building Blocks by highlighting the content you want to use often, then click the "Insert" tab. Click "Quick Parts" in the Text group, and then click "Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery." Type a name for the part and then click "OK."