This is a very thorough guide with several methods you can use to insert or type the Plus or Minus Symbol or Sign (±) anywhere on your PC, like Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint, whether you are using the Windows or on the Mac keyboard. You’ll learn all the easy methods including the Plus or Minus Alt code shortcut.

Without any wasting much time, let’s get started.

Quick Guide for typing the Plus or Minus symbol (±)

To type the Plus or Minus Symbol anywhere on your PC or Laptop keyboard (like in Microsoft Word or Excel), press Option + Shift + = shortcut for Mac. And if you are using Windows, simply press down the Alt key and type 241 using the numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard.

However, to type this symbol in MS Word, just type 00B1, select it and then press Alt + X to get the Plus or Minus sign.

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

Name of SymbolPlus-Minus sign
Symbol Text±
Symbol Alt Code241
Shortcut for WindowsAlt + 241
Shortcut for MacOption + Shift + =
Shortcut in Word-100B1, Alt+X
not equal to symbol shortcut

Whether you are using Windows or Mac, the above information is enough for you to write the Plus or Minus sign into 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 Plus or Minus 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 + 7 keys give you the Ampersand (&) 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 Plus or Minus symbol (±).

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.

How to Insert Plus or Minus symbol in Word/Excel

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

In a couple of minutes, I’ll explain several methods you can use to get this (±) and any other symbol as and when the need arises.

As a quick guide, press down the Alt key and type 241 alt code on your numeric keypad. You can also press Option + Shift + = on Mac.

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

1. Plus or Minus Symbol Shortcuts (Windows and Mac)

The Plus or Minus Symbol Shortcut for Mac is Option + Shift + =.

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

However, there’s a Windows shortcut for the Plus or Minus Sign that works across all applications. It is the alt code shortcut which is Alt+241 (will be discussed in the next section).

Plus or minus symbol shortcuts for Windows and Mac

The Plus or Minus Symbol shortcut for Microsoft Word is 00B1, Alt X. This works in Microsoft Word Only.

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

  • Place the insertion pointer in the right place.
  • Type 00B1 on your keyboard, then press Alt + X.

This will convert the numbers into the Plus or Minus symbol at where you place the insertion pointer.

Below is a breakdown on how to use the Plus or Minus symbol shortcut for Mac:

  • First of all, place the insertion pointer where you need to insert the symbol.
  • Now, using the Mac keyboard, Press Option + Shift + = simultaneously.
Type plus or minus symbol 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 Plus or Minus Symbol Alt Code to type the symbol on your keyboard.

2. Plus or Minus Symbol Alt Code (For Windows Windows)

The Plus or Minus (±) Symbol Alt Code is 241 and 0177.

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 symbol on your keyboard (using the Alt code provided above:

  • Press the num lock key to enable the numeric keypad. Use Fn key + NumLk keys to turn on Num Lock on laptops without the numeric keypad.
  • Press and hold the Alt key and type 241 using the numeric keypad.
  • After typing the Alt code (i.e. 241), release the [Alt] key you pressed down.
Typing plus or minus symbol Alt Code on Windows keyboard

As soon as you release the Alt Key, the Plus or Minus (±) symbol should appear in your document.

3. Copy and paste Plus or Minus symbol

Use the button below to copy and paste the Plus or Minus symbol for your work.

My favorite method for inserting symbols is the 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 Plus-Minus Sign in the search box.
  • The symbol you searched for (i.e. the Plus or Minus symbol) 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 plus or minus sign
  • 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 Plus or Minus sign using the Character Map on Windows.

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 Plus or Minus 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 Plus or Minus 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 Plus or Minus symbol you want to insert is in this category and should appear.

  • Select the symbol, and then click on the Insert button.
Inserting plus or minus symbol in Word or Excel

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 Plus or Minus symbol in Word using the insert symbol dialog.

5. Word’s AutoCorrect for the Plus or Minus Sign

You can also type the Plus or Minus 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 an acronym shortcut to the Plus or Minus Symbol (PMS for example).

This way, whenever you type the text PMS, Word will think that you actually wanted to type ± and will convert it into the Plus or Minus symbol for you automatically.

See illustration below:

Illustration of a custom shortcut in Word for the plus or minus symbol

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 Plus or Minus 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 Plus or Minus symbol, then click to select it.
  • Click on the AutoCorrect… button to display the AutoCorrect window.
creating a custom plus or minus sign shortcut in Word
  • In the AutoCorrect dialog box, enter the following:

Replace: PMS

With: ±

creating a custom plus or minus sign shortcut in Word
  • Click Add, and then then hit the OK button.

Now, word will automatically insert the Plus or Minus symbol into your document whenever you type PMS.

Illustration of a custom shortcut in Word for the plus or minus symbol

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

  • AutoCorrect is case sensitive. Meaning if you type pms (in lowercase), Word will not convert it into the Plus or Minus sign unless you type PMS (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 Plus or Minus symbol. For example, XPMS will not get converted, but X PMS will get converted to X ±.

Conclusion

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

My favorite method is using the copy and paste method followed by the shortcuts. The Alt Code method also comes simple.

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

Thanks for reading.