Write with Unicode in MS Word - Coddicted

Write with Unicode in MS Word 1

Writing special characters with Unicode values in MS Word/ Converting Unicode values to corresponding (special) characters in MS-Word :

(NOTE: This method is tried and tested with MS-Word 2007 and 2010)

MS Word provides a special facility of putting in special symbols in your document. You can go to “Insert tab → Symbol → More symbols”, find your desired special character over there and use it in your document. However, for someone like me who hates using mouse while typing any document, such a “Go to Menu and find this” type of task is particularly irritating. So here is the keyboard only method to type those special characters whose Unicode values you know.

 To convert a Unicode value to corresponding special character in MS Word just type the code for the symbol, select it and press ‘Alt + x’. The code will be converted to its corresponding special character.


For example, the Unicode value for the logical AND (conjunction) symbol ∧ is U+2227. To have it in your word document, just type 2227, select it and press “Alt + x” keys. Voila, there you have it, a beautiful conjunction symbol ‘∧’ on your document page.

 Some commonly used mathematical symbols; there meaning and corresponding Unicode values are presented in the table below:



Common term of use Unicode value

Logical OR/ disjunction U+2228

Logical implication U+2192


Negation U+00AC

Logical AND/ conjunction U+2227

Logical equivalence U+2261

Logical non-equivalence U+2262

If and only if/ iff/ bi-implication U+2194

Sigma/ Summation U+2211

For All U+2200

Exists U+2203


Delta/ Del function U+03B4


Epsilon/ belongs to U+03F5

Subset of U+2282

Subset of or equal to U+2286

Not a subset of U+2284

Neither a subset nor equal to U+2288


Commonly used as a variable U+03B1


Same as above U+03B2

Therefore/ hence U+2234

because/ since U+2235


NOTE: To do the converse of above, i.e. to determine the Unicode of the symbol typed in a Word Document, select the symbol and simply press the key combination “ALT + X” again to get the desired Unicode value decrypted for you. (This, however, won’t work when the symbol is copied as an image from somewhere else. And of course we wish you luck searching it over the internet.)
Method for Open-Office:

The method/ shortcut keys ‘Alt + x’ won’t work in open-office word. They have a different way-out of handling the special characters and that too is in a pretty naive state as of this writing.Open-office defines what is know as the ‘Alt Codes‘ for some special characters (Note that these do not include the full range of Unicode characters). 

To use these ‘Alt Codes’, simply press and hold the ‘Alt’ key, then type the ‘Alt Code’ for the character (when it is defined), and release the ‘Alt’ key. The corresponding special character should be there.

For example, the ‘Alt Code’ corresponding to the negation symbol ‘¬’ (Unicode value U+00AC) is defined to be ‘0172’. To type this symbol in your open-office document simply type 0172 while holding the ‘Alt’ key pressed. When you release the ‘Alt’ key afterwards the symbol is inserted in your document.

NOTE: As we mentioned earlier, the approach for handling special characters in open-office is still pretty naive, the whole range of Unicode characters is not mapped to a corresponding ‘Alt code’. Hence, we are unable to put up any sort of list for symbols of common use in mathematics/ engineering. However, you might wish to map your own shortcuts in the form of ‘Alt codes’/ macros for the special symbols of your common use. Wish you luck for that.

Damn!!! We really love MS-Word now. 🙂

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