Create Keyboard Shortcuts to Insert Symbols in Word and Excel


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.



Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.