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How to Insert Symbols in Google Sheets (2 Easy Methods)

Do you ever find yourself struggling to insert special characters or symbols in your Google Sheets documents? Whether you’re creating a budget spreadsheet, a project timeline, or simply taking notes, sometimes you need symbols like ©, µ, or → to enhance your data

But fear not, because we’ve got you covered. In this beginner-friendly guide, we’ll show you how to insert symbols in Google Sheets with ease.

For starters, inserting symbols in Google Sheets might seem like a daunting task, but it’s a simple and powerful feature that can help you make your spreadsheets more informative and visually appealing. 

Whether you’re a student working on a math assignment, a business professional creating financial reports, or anyone in between, understanding how to insert symbols in Google Sheets can save you time and add a touch of professionalism to your documents. 

But before we delve into the practical aspect of inserting special characters in Google Sheets, let’s explore some reasons why you might want to insert symbols in Google Sheets.

How to Insert Symbols in Google Sheets Using Docs

Now that you understand why inserting symbols in Google Sheets is valuable, let’s move on to the practical steps. 

In this section, we’ll explore the method of inserting symbols in Google Sheets using Google Docs.

Why Use Google Docs?

Google Docs provides an efficient gateway to insert symbols into Google Sheets. By creating your desired symbols in a Google Docs document, you can then quickly transfer them into your spreadsheet. This method is user-friendly and ensures that you have a wide array of symbols at your disposal.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Step 1: Open a Google Docs Document

Begin by opening a new or existing Google Docs document. You can access Google Docs through your web browser or the Google Docs app on your mobile device.

For our guide, we will open a new Google Docs document. 

Here is what ours looks like: 

Step 2: Insert Menu > Special Characters

With your Google Docs opened, it’s time to get hands-on. Here, we want to navigate to the Insert menu and select the “Special characters” option from the drop-down menu. 

This action will launch a symbol panel that looks like this: 

Note: This symbol panel lets you choose from a variety of symbols and characters that you can put into your document.

Step 3: Search For Your Symbol And Insert

If you look closely at the symbol panel, you’ll notice there are several options you can choose from. What’s even more exciting is that you have the option to search for specific symbols. This option is great for when you’re looking for a unique symbol. 

Once you find the symbol you want to use, simply click on it in the panel. This will insert the symbol into your Google Docs document at the current cursor location.

For this guide, we will opt for the downward arrow symbol

After choosing this option, the symbol should be instantly inserted into your Google Docs. Here, take a look at what ours looks like: 

Step 4: Copy the Symbol

After inserting the symbol into Google Docs, you need to copy it. Highlight the symbol, right-click, and select “Copy” from the context menu. 

Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C (or Command+C on Mac).

Step 5: Paste the Symbol into Google Sheets

Now, switch to your Google Sheets document where you want to insert the symbol. Click on the cell or location where you want the symbol to appear and then paste it. 

To paste the symbol, all you need to do is right-click the cell and choose “Paste” from the context menu or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V (or Command+V on Mac).

After pasting the symbol like we described above, you should have something like this: 

If you followed the steps as we discussed in this section, you should be able to insert symbols in Google Sheets without stressing. 

What’s interesting about this method is that it allows you to access a wide range of symbols, making it a versatile and beginner-friendly option for enhancing your spreadsheets. 

With everything we covered in this section, we have no doubt that you’re ready to take your data presentation to the next level.

In the next section, we’ll explore another method to insert symbols directly into Google Sheets for added convenience.

How to Insert Symbols in Google Sheets Using Alt Codes

In the previous section, we explored a simple way to add symbols to your Google Sheets using Google Docs. Now, we’re going to take things up a notch and dive into another equally user-friendly method: using Alt codes. 

For those just hearing about Alt codes for the first time, it would interest you to know that they are keyboard shortcuts that allow you to insert special characters and symbols directly into your Google Sheets document.

These codes are especially useful when you need to insert commonly used symbols or characters without switching to a different application.

Here’s how to use Alt codes to insert symbols in Google Sheets:

Step 1: Select an Empty Cell 

The first thing we want to do is select an empty cell in our spreadsheet. This is where we are going to insert our symbol. For this example, we will select cell B1. 

Step 2: Activate Edit Mode

Having selected the cell where we want to insert symbols in Google Sheets using Alt codes, we need to activate the edit mode. To do that, we need to press F2 on our keyboard. 

If you’re using a Mac computer, simply press the fn button on your keyboard and then select F2. 

Step 3: Insert Symbol

After activating the edit mode, it’s time to insert our symbol, which is super easy. All we need to do here is press down the ALT key followed by the alt code of the symbol you want to type.

For the purpose of this guide, we will press the ALT+24. 

After pressing this button, here is the symbol we got (↑): 

From the screenshot above, you can see that pressing ALT+24 gave us the top arrow symbol. Now, that’s how to insert symbols in Google Sheets using the ALT code.

You can search on Google to find the Alt code for the symbol you wish to insert into your Google Sheets document.

Using Alt codes, you can quickly insert symbols and characters directly into your Google Sheets document without the need for extra copying and pasting. It’s a straightforward method, especially when you need symbols on the fly.

Why Insert Symbols in Google Sheets?

You might wonder why you should bother inserting symbols in Google Sheets, especially if you’re new to this feature. Well, there are several compelling reasons to do so, and they go beyond just adding a dash of style to your spreadsheets. 

Let’s explore why inserting symbols in Google Sheets is a valuable skill:

  • Enhanced Clarity: Symbols can help you convey complex information more clearly. For instance, using the “↑” symbol to indicate an increase or “↓” to show a decrease instantly communicates trends in your data, making it easier for your audience to understand your message.
  • Professional Presentation: Adding symbols not only makes your spreadsheets more visually appealing but also gives them a professional touch. Whether you’re creating financial reports, project timelines, or any other document, symbols can help you present your data with finesse.
  • Mathematical Precision: For students, educators, or anyone dealing with mathematical or scientific data, symbols are essential. You can use Greek letters, mathematical operators, and other specialized symbols to create equations and formulas that accurately represent your data.
  • Language Flexibility: Google Sheets allows you to work with symbols from various languages and character sets. This is especially useful if you’re working on multilingual projects or need to include characters like é, ñ, or ç.
  • Quick Data Identification: Symbols can serve as visual cues to help you identify specific data points or categories in your spreadsheet. For example, using a “✓” symbol to mark completed tasks in a to-do list can make tracking progress a breeze.
  • Global Compatibility: The symbols you insert in Google Sheets can be easily shared and viewed by others, ensuring consistent data representation across different devices and platforms.

Final Thoughts

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve walked you through two accessible methods for inserting symbols in Google Sheets: using Google Docs and employing Alt codes. 

By using Google Docs, you have the advantage of a diverse and easy-to-navigate symbol library at your fingertips. It’s a great choice when you need a wide array of symbols and want to have them ready for your spreadsheets. However, it involves an additional step of copying and pasting.

On the other hand, Alt codes offer a quick and direct way to insert symbols directly into your Google Sheets document. This method is perfect when you require commonly used symbols on the go, without switching between applications.

Whether you choose one method or a combination of both, your newfound ability to insert symbols will significantly enhance your spreadsheet skills.

We hope today’s guide has helped broaden your understanding of symbols and how to insert special characters in Google Sheets.