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TECHNOLOGY Q&A

Create Keyboard Shortcuts to Insert Symbols in Word and Excel

 

By STANLEY ZAROWIN
DECEMBER 2009

Q I’m beginning to handle international business, which means I need to be able to use foreign currency symbols in both Word and Excel. How do I create a shortcut for various symbols?

 

A Let’s start with Word, which is the easiest. In Word 2003, press Insert, Symbol, which engages the Symbol screen (see screenshot below). In Word 2007, press Insert on the Ribbon and then click on Symbol, More Symbols.

 

 

In the Subset dropdown box, go to Currency Symbols, click on the symbol of your choice and click on Shortcut Key to open the Customize Keyboard screen (see screenshot below). Create a shortcut code by pressing the code and clicking Assign and then Close.

 

In Excel, it’s a bit more complicated because you cannot assign a keyboard shortcut the way you can in Word. As you saw above, each symbol has a Microsoft-assigned shortcut code, but short of preparing a “cheat sheet,” there’s little chance you can remember the long code for several symbols. But there is a neat workaround, using Excel’s AutoCorrect feature, to create an easy-to-remember keyboard shortcut.

 

Begin by inserting a copy of the target symbol in a blank cell and press F2 to edit the cell, selecting just the symbol. Then press Ctrl+C to copy it to the Clipboard. In Excel 2003, press Tools and select the AutoCorrect Options. In Excel 2007, click the Office button and Excel Options. Then click on Proofing on the left of the dialog box and click on AutoCorrect Options.

 

Under Replace in the AutoCorrect Options dialog box, type a mnemonic (but not a real word) for the symbol; I selected GB for the British pound symbol (see screenshot above). Then, in the With box, press Ctrl+V to paste the symbol from the Clipboard and click on Add.

 

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