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. ...

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Comments

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What is eight minus 2?

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)?


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