x

How to Get a Degree Symbol

by Emily ValentineUpdated September 28, 2017
Temperature Dial image by Cinneman from Fotolia.com

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.

Windows

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

...

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.

Mac

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.

Tips

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.

Warnings

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.

More Articles