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How to type half symbol in Word or Excel (½ or 1/2) on Keyboard

This is a very thorough guide with several methods you can use to insert or type the Half symbol or 1/2 Sign (½) anywhere, like Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, whether you are using a Windows or Mac keyboard. You’ll learn all the easy methods, including the 1/2 Alt code shortcut.

Without wasting much time, let’s get started.

Quick Guide for typing the Half 1/2 symbol (½)

To type the One-Half Symbol (1/2) anywhere using your PC or Laptop keyboard (like in Microsoft Word or Excel), press Option + 00BD shortcut for Mac. And if you are using Windows, simply press down the Alt key and type 0189 using the numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard. Exclusively for Microsoft Word users, type 00BD and then press Alt + X to get the ½ sign.

The table below contains everything you need to know to be able to type this symbol on both Windows and Mac.

Name of SymbolOne Half
Symbol Text½
Alt Code0189
Windows ShortcutAlt + 0189
Shortcut on MacOption + 00BD
Shortcut in Word00BD, Alt X
One Half symbol shortcut for Windows and Mac

Whether you are using Windows or Mac, the above information is enough for you to insert the ½ sign anywhere including your Word/Excel document.

However, if you are not satisfied with this quick help, keep reading below as I will explain in detail, how to get the Half symbol or any other symbol anywhere on your Mac or Windows PC like in MS Word/Excel/PowerPoint.

As you may already know, there are several dual-purpose keys on the keyboard for both Windows and Mac. That is to say that there are symbols readily available as second keys on the keyboard. Just by pressing two or more keys simultaneously, you can easily insert such symbols into your work. For instance, pressing Shift + 6 keys gives you the Caret (^) sign.

However, other symbols aren’t printed on the keyboard as second keys. This makes it difficult to type. One of these symbols is the Half symbol (½).

Typing becomes very difficult for you if you need to add some of these symbols regularly into your work.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult especially now that you are reading this step-by-step guide.

Tips and Tricks (Shortcut for Quick Insertion)

In MS Word, you can quickly insert the half (½) symbol by typing 1/2 and then pressing the Spacebar or Enter. Word automatically converts it to a fraction symbol. And in MS Excel, you can quickly do same by typing 0 [space], then 1/4 in a cell to get the ½ fraction symbol.

How to Insert Half symbol in Word/Excel

In the following sections, I will show you all the easy ways to type or insert this symbol (½) anywhere on your Windows or Mac PC (such as Word or Excel or PowerPoint).

As a quick guide, press down the Alt key and type 0189 alt code on your numeric keypad. You can also press Option + 00BD on Mac.

However, without any further ado, below are the methods explained into details.

Method 1: Using Half Symbol Keyboard Shortcuts (Windows and Mac)

The half (1/2) keyboard shortcut for Mac is Option + 00BD.

Windows has several shortcuts, some of which work only in Microsoft Word.

However, there’s a Microsoft Windows shortcut for the Half Sign that works across all applications. It is the alt code shortcut which is Alt + 0189 (will be discussed in the next section).

One Half symbol shortcut for Windows and Mac

The Half Symbol shortcut for Microsoft Word is 00BD, Alt X.

These shortcuts work in Microsoft Word Only.

To use this shortcut on Windows (for Word), obey the following instructions:

  • Place the insertion pointer in the right place.
  • Type 00BD on your keyboard, then press Alt + X. This will convert the code into the one-Half symbol at where you place the insertion pointer.

Below is a breakdown on how to use the 1/2 symbol shortcut for Mac:

  • First of all, place the insertion pointer where you need to insert the symbol.
  • Now, using the Mac keyboard, Press down the Option key.
  • While holding down the Option key, type 00BD on your keyboard.
  • Release the Option key.
1/2 symbol shortcut on Mac

This shortcut should insert the symbol for you on your Mac PC.

In the next section, I’ll show you how to use the One Half Symbol Alt Code to type the symbol on your keyboard.

Method 2: Using Alt Code Half (1/2) Symbol  (Windows)

The Half (½) Symbol Alt Code is 0189.

Every symbol in Word has a unique code that you can use to insert the symbol into your document. This code is well known as “Alt code”.

Below are the steps to type this (1/2) half symbol on keyboard (using the Alt code provided above):

  • Press the num lock key to enable the numeric keypad.
  • Press and hold the Alt key and type 0189 using the numeric keypad.
  • After typing the Alt code (i.e. 0189), release the [Alt] key you pressed down.
One half symbol Alt code

As soon as you release the Alt Key, the Half (½) symbol should appear in your document.

Method 3: 1/2 symbol Copy and Paste (½)

Use the button below to copy and paste the Half symbol for your work.

My favorite method for inserting symbols that I can’t easily type is copy and paste.

With this method, all you need to do is google the symbol you need to type, then copy it from one of the search results provided. Once you get the symbol into your document, you can always recopy and paste it as and when the need arises.

Use the button above to get this symbol on your clipboard.

There is another way to copy this and any other symbol on Windows. It involved using the Windows Character Map.

Obey the steps below to copy and paste any symbol using the character map.

  • Search for the Character map app by clicking on the Start button.
  • The Character map app will show up in the search results. Click on it to launch.
searching for character map to copy and paste symbols
  • After the Character Map window opens up, click to check the Advance View checkbox to expand the window for more advanced options.
Advanced view of the Character map dialog box
  • On the Advanced View section, type One Half in the search box.
  • The symbol you searched for (i.e. letters with the Cedilla symbols) will now appear on the Character map. Double click on it to select it. You’ll see that the symbol appears in the Characters to copy text box. This allows you to select and copy several symbols at the same time.
copy and paste Half symbol
  • After selecting the symbol, you wish to copy, click on the Copy button.
  • Switch over to wherever you need the symbol, whether in MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, and press Ctrl + V to paste.

This is how you may copy and paste the One Half sign using the Character Map on Windows.

Method 4: Using Insert Symbol Dialog

This approach isn’t as straight forward as the shortcut methods. But it’s fairly simple.

And once you get the symbol into your document, you can always copy and paste it again as and when you need it in your work.

Below are the steps to insert the Half Sign in Word using the insert symbol dialog.

  • Go to the Insert tab.
Go to the Insert tab
  • On the Insert tab, click the Symbol button and choose More Symbols…
More Symbols

These few clicks will bring up the Symbol dialog box.

  • Locate the Symbol you want to insert.

To easily find the Half symbol on the Symbols window, look at the top right area of the dialog and select Latin-1 Supplement in the Subset: drop-down list. The Half symbol you want to insert is in this category and should appear.

Inserting 1/2 half symbol in Word or Excel
  • Select the symbol, and then click on the Insert button.
  • Alternatively, double-clicking on the symbol will also insert the symbol into your document.
  • Click the Close button.

This is how you may insert a Half symbol in Word using the insert symbol dialog.

Method 5: Insert the 1/2 Fraction or Symbol in Word and Excel Using the Equation Tool

Microsoft Word and Excel offer a powerful tool called the Equation Tool, designed to handle not only fractions but also a variety of mathematical and scientific symbols. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to insert the 1/2 fraction or symbol in Word and Excel using the Equation Tool.

For Microsoft Word

Step 1: Open Equation Tool

  1. Open your Microsoft Word document.
  2. Place your cursor where you want to insert the fraction.
  3. Go to the Insert tab on the Ribbon.
  4. Click on Equation in the Symbols group. A dropdown menu will appear.
  5. Select Insert New Equation from the dropdown. This action opens the Equation Tools Design tab.

Step 2: Insert Fraction

  1. In the Equation Tools Design tab, look for the Fraction button in the Structures group.
  2. Click on the Fraction button. A dropdown menu will display various fraction formats.
  3. Select the stacked/skewed fraction style (which shows one number over the other) or any style you prefer.
  4. Once you click your preferred style, a fraction box will appear in your document.

Step 3: Enter Your Fraction

  1. Click in the top box of the fraction structure that appeared in your document.
  2. Type 1.
  3. Click in the bottom box and type 2.
  4. Your fraction 1/2 is now inserted into your document.

For Microsoft Excel

Step 1: Open Equation Tool

  1. Open your Microsoft Excel workbook.
  2. Select the cell where you want to insert the fraction.
  3. Go to the Insert tab on the Ribbon.
  4. Click on Equation in the Symbols group. This will add a new equation box and open the Equation Tools Design tab.

Step 2: Insert Fraction

  1. In the Equation Tools Design tab, find the Fraction button in the Structures group.
  2. Click on it and choose your desired fraction format from the dropdown menu.
  3. A fraction structure will appear in the equation box.

Step 3: Enter Your Fraction

  1. Click in the top placeholder of the fraction structure and type 1.
  2. Click in the bottom placeholder and type 2.
  3. Click outside the equation box to insert the fraction into the selected cell.

These are the steps you may use to write 1/2 in Word and Excel using the equation tool.

Method 6: Word’s AutoCorrect for the Half Sign

You can also type the Half Symbol using the AutoCorrect feature in Word.

It is a feature in MS Word designed for correcting spelling mistakes like thsi to this.

Using this AutoCorrect Feature, you can assign a short code to the Half symbol (such as HLF).

This way, whenever you type the text HLF, Word will think that you actually wanted to type ½ and will convert it into the Half symbol for you automatically.

See illustration below:

Illustration of a customly created half symbol shortcut

What makes this method interesting is that you can assign your own custom shortcut or shortcode to the symbol and Word will automatically insert the symbol whenever you type the code.

Without further ado, below are the steps you can use to type Half symbol in Word using AutoCorrect.

  • Go to the Insert tab.
Go to the Insert tab
  • On the Insert tab, go to Symbol and then click More Symbols… The Symbol windows will appear.
More Symbols
  • Locate the Half symbol, then click to select it.
  • Click on the AutoCorrect… button to display the AutoCorrect window.
creating custom half sign shortcut
  • In the AutoCorrect dialog box, enter the following:

Replace: HLF

With: ½

creating custom half sign shortcut
  • Click Add, and then then hit the OK button.

Now, word will automatically insert the Half symbol into your document whenever you type HLF.

However, below are some few things to note when you are using the AutoCorrect Method to insert the Half sign.

  • AutoCorrect is case sensitive. Meaning if you type hlf (in lowercase), Word will not convert it into the One-Half Symbol unless you type HLF (in uppercase).
  • If there is any text before or after the AutoCorrect text, Word will consider the AutoCorrect text as part of the text and hence will not convert it to the Half symbol. For example, XHLF will not get converted, but X HLF will get converted to X ½.


As you can see, these are the various ways you may insert or type the One Half symbol in Word/Excel with or without using the keyboard.

My favorite method is using the copy and paste method followed by the shortcut in Word for both Windows and Mac. The Alt Code method also comes simple.

For any comments or questions about this guide, please let me know in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading.

Jan V H Luthman

Wednesday 27th of January 2021

There is a rather more straightforward in Word. Simply type 1 / 2 then press the return key. That's it. Try it.


Saturday 25th of June 2022

Thank you for keeping it simple!

Abarika Abdulai

Thursday 28th of January 2021

Thanks for sharing. It’s really simple this way.