Special characters with [Alt]

Ask a question

Special characters with [Alt]

We can enter special characters by holding the [Alt] key down and typing a 3 or 4 digit code.

Alt + xxx

  • On modern computers you can insert special characters with a simple click (using table of special characters...), but it was not the case during the early days of computing. Special commands were required to create accented letters, typographical signs, pictograms (such as spades, hearts, clover ) or smileys and graphics for drawing frames and borders.

Using the Alt codes

  • It will be quite difficult to memorize all of the Alt codes, so the trick is to memorize the commonly used ones.

Handling errors

  • What may prevent many beginners from entering special characters, is due to the fact that they release the Alt key too soon. Release the Alt key only after typing all the numbers.
  • The second common mistake is to make use of the number keys placed on the second (top) row of the keyboard./ It is compulsory to use the numeric keypad on the right of the keyboard to enter special characters.


Jean-François Pillou

CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jeff Pillou, founder of CCM.net. CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.

Learn more about the CCM team