How to Get a Degree Symbol

By Emily Valentine

Updated September 28, 2017

The indication of temperature is just one of the ways in which the degree symbol is used.
i Temperature Dial image by Cinneman from

Many people simply cut and paste symbols from websites into their documents. However, this is a lengthy process and has the potential to also transfer unwanted coded information into your document. While there are many ways to type a degree symbol, the easiest and most accurate way is to use either the Mac shortcut or the Alt code, depending on your operating system.


Move the blinking text cursor to the place where you want to insert the degree symbol.

The numeric keypad is located on the right side of a full size keyboard.
i A close-up of a common keypad or numeric keyboard. image by Werg from

Make sure that the “Num Lock” function is turned on. This button can be found on the top left corner of the numeric keypad.

Press and hold “Alt.”

Use the numeric keypad to type “0176.” The degree symbol will appear.


Move the blinking text cursor to the place where you want to insert the degree symbol.

Press and hold “Option” and “Shift.”

Type the number “8.” The degree symbol will appear.


In Windows, if you are using a laptop or other form of compact keyboard, turn on the “Num Lock” function (usually on the very top row, e.g., F11) and use the numeric keypad that is embedded in the QWERTY keyboard. E.g., when typed on the keyboard, MJ7O will give 0176.

The Mac shortcut will work in most, but not all, Mac programs. If the shortcut doesn’t give you a degree symbol, press and hold “Option” and “Command” and type “T”. This should bring up the character palette from which you can insert a degree symbol.

If you are someone who spends a fair bit of time writing, print out a list of the Mac shortcuts or Alt codes that you find most useful and keep it near your computer; it’s a convenient reference sheet that will save you lots of time.


On a Mac, using the shortcut “Option” + “0” will give you a symbol that closely resembles the degree symbol, but it is actually the masculine ordinal symbol. The difference between the two symbols is noticeable in many typefaces.