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How to type the belongs-to symbol

Updated February 21, 2017

The "belongs to" symbol, also known as the "element of" symbol, resembles a lowercase "e" or the euro currency sign. In mathematics, this symbol signifies that an element belongs to a set and is essential for any discussion involving the relationship between a set and its members. There are several different ways of adding this symbol to what you are typing; which you use depends on where and how you want to place the symbol.

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As part of an equation in Microsoft Office

  1. Position the text cursor where you want to create the equation. In Excel, equations aren't anchored to a cell and can be moved freely; in Word and PowerPoint, they can either be free floating or in-line.

  2. Select the "Insert" tab and then click "Equation." Type the part of the equation you want to place before the "belongs to" symbol.

  3. Type "\in" without quotes and then press "Space" to insert the "belongs to" symbol. Alternatively, locate the symbol in the Symbols list and click it once to insert it.

In normal text in Microsoft Office

  1. Position the text cursor where you want to add the symbol. In Microsoft Excel, select the cell to which you want to add it.

  2. Select the "Insert" tab and then click "Symbol" to open a list of symbols. Using the "Font" drop-down menu, select the "Arial Unicode MS" font.

  3. Type "2208" without quotes in the "Character Code" text field to select the "belongs to" symbol. Click "Insert" to insert it in your document and then click "Close" to close the list of symbols.

Using the Character Map

  1. Minimise any programs you have open and return to the Start screen. Type "character map" without quotes to search for the Character Map application.

  2. Click "Character Map" in the search results to launch the app. Using the "Font" drop-down menu, select "Arial Unicode MS."

  3. Ensure the check box labelled "Advanced view" is selected. Type "element" in the "Search for" text field and press Enter" to display the "belongs to" symbol.

  4. Double click the symbol to add it to the "Characters to copy" text field and then click the "Copy" button to copy it to your clipboard.

  5. Switch back to the program in which you were typing, position the text cursor where you want to add the symbol and press "Ctrl-V" to paste it.

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About the Author

Laurel Storm has been writing since 2001, and helping people with technology for far longer than that. Some of her articles have been published in "Messaggero dei Ragazzi", an Italian magazine for teenagers. She holds a Master of Arts in writing for television and new media from the University of Turin.

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