Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Putting Character Codes to Work.

Putting Character Codes to Work

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2015)

5

If you know the ASCII or ANSI codes for a particular character, and you want to enter it into your document, you can do so by holding down the Alt key and using the numeric keypad. If you enter a three-digit code, then Windows assumes you want the ASCII character associated with that code. If you enter a four-digit code, then Windows assumes you want the ANSI character associated with that code.

For instance, the ASCII code for an uppercase A is 65. You could enter this character by holding down the Alt key and pressing 065 (a three-digit code) on the numeric keypad. It just so happens that this is the same as the ANSI code for an uppercase A, as well. Thus, you could hold down the Alt key and press 0065 (a four-digit code) for the same result. This works because the ASCII and ANSI codes are the same for all values between 0 and 127. When you work with values between 128 and 255, they are different.

You can see this difference by holding down the Alt key and pressing 163 (a three-digit code) on the numeric keypad. This inserts a foreign language character in your document. If you instead use a four-digit code for the same number (hold down the Alt key and press 0163), Word inserts the symbol for the British pound.

You should also know that you can use the Alt key with a regular value. For instance, you can type Alt and then the number 3 on the keypad. This inserts a character for a heart. The values between 0 and 31 do not represent printable characters in either ASCII or ANSI codes. If you hold down the Alt key and enter a number between 1 and 31 on the numeric keypad, Word inserts various miscellaneous dingbat characters in your document. The best way to see how this works is to simply try it in a document of your choosing.

To insert the full range of Unicode characters into your document, you cannot use the simple approach of holding down the Alt key and using the numeric keypad. Instead, you must display the Symbols dialog box. (Display the Insert tab of the ribbon, click Symbol in the Symbols group, and then click More Symbols.) You can then choose a font and a Unicode subset. Word then displays the available characters in the dialog box, and you can select the character you want to insert.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11219) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Putting Character Codes to Work.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Swapping Two Numbers

When programming macros, variables are used extensively. At some point you might want to exchange the values held by two ...

Discover More

Turning Off Paste Options

Paste some information into a worksheet and Excel helpfully displays some options related t the paste operation. If you don't ...

Discover More

Sheets for Months

One common type of workbook used in offices is one that contains a single worksheet for each month of the year. If you need ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Jumping Back in a Long Document

Navigating quickly and easily around a document becomes critical as the document becomes larger and larger. This tip explains ...

Discover More

Single-Character Fractions

Some fractions Word automatically converts to single characters, some it doesn't. Here's why that happens and what you can do ...

Discover More

Comparing Documents Top and Bottom

Word has a feature that allows you to compare two documents side-by-side. What if you actually want to compare the documents ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 - 1?

2017-02-01 13:07:18

M D Kovalik

ASCII code display for word processor ??Is there a way to display a word processor document (MS-WORD) text as the ASCII equivalent?
back in the days of IBM 370 etc, and the beginning of the "PC" I used a word processor WORDSTAR that had a feature where a document would be displayed on a split screen, one side was the readable text, the other side was the ASCII or HEX equivalents. This was handy to see the "hidden" characters, such as LF and CR, or where the numeric zero was used instead of the letter "O", or lower case "L" was used for the digit 1.


2015-06-25 12:25:39

Malcolm

You can find specific ascii and ansi codes at the bottom of the widow opened when you press Insert Symbol. To find the lot, Google ASCII and ANSI.
Ones I find useful: 2019 followed by ALT-x for the "close-quote" needed for elisions like 'appy, 'tisn't, 'orse. 2013+ALTx for an en dash; 2014+ALTx for an em dash; and 2015+ALTx for an em dash that is "sticky" at both ends. WARNING: These are hex numbers, so if you start tying 2014 tight against a word ending in a,b,c,d,e or f, make a temporary space first, create your dash, then delete the space.


2012-09-02 18:07:44

steve gray

Simple Q: How do I find the code for a given letter or symbol?


2012-01-22 22:43:48

Juan

Excellent tip, I didn't know ASCII and ANSI codes are the same between 0 and 127


2012-01-21 20:05:32

Milt Feldon

How about thehexadecimal no. followed by ALT+X (Word 2007 & 2010)?


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.