Insert Symbols into Your Articles Without Using HTML

PC Keyboard with Number PadCredit: Zsuzsanna Kilian, Budapest, Hungary
Use ALT-key numeric codes with this type of keyboard

As a learning opportunity, getting the best out of the InfoBarrel text editor is up there with the worst of them. From time to time, InfoBarrel members write comments or forum posts asking for help with particular editing problems, and one request that recurs is inserting special characters, such as the copyright symbol, “©,” into InfoBarrel articles. Here are two methods that will help people using a Windows PC:

 The first one only works for people using a PC that has an extended keyboard – one with a separate number pad on the right hand side. Laptop users with a regular keyboard need not despair; the second method works with either type of Windows computer. If you use a Mac – sorry, I haven’t got an answer for you guys, but I expect that something similar will work.

 Firstly, if you write your articles in Microsoft Word before copying and pasting them into the InfoBarrel editor, you may be able to copy and paste symbols directly into your draft. It works for me using Chrome, but for those using other browsers who can’t make it happen, try these alternatives:

 1.    Using ALT-Key Numeric codes

 One life-saving feature of all MS Windows operating systems is the use of ALT-key codes. For any given font, each of the characters in the font-set has a four-digit numeric code associated with it. A table showing some of the more common ALT-key numeric codes, including currency symbols, copyright symbol, trademark symbol and registered symbol, appears below. 





Cent Sign



British Pound


European Euro



Japanese Yen



Copyright symbol



Registered symbol





Section Symbol




Double Dagger


 For a more complete list of codes, take a look at this page from Penn State University, which I used for reference purposes.

 To insert a special symbol in your article when using the InfoBarrel editor, do the following:

  1. position the cursor where you want to insert the symbol;
  2. hold down the ALT key;
  3. type the corresponding code on your numeric keypad; and
  4. release the ALT key.

 When you release the key, you will see the chosen symbol appear.


  • If you use the number keys on the regular keyboard (the ones just above the alphabetic keys), this method will not work. 
  • When entering a numeric code, remember to type the leading zero(es). If you don’t, it will not work. 
  • For keyboards that have two ALT keys, one on either side of the space-bar, use the left-hand key. On some international keyboards, the right-hand key doesn’t work. 
  • Check that you have activated your numeric keypad by pressing the NUM LOCK key. Most keyboards have an LED indicator that shows the status of the keypad. 

 2.    Using the Windows™ Character-Map Utility

 Another life-saver is the Windows Character Map. This utility allows you to copy any character or symbol directly from Windows without using Word or any other word-processing software, and to paste it into the InfoBarrel text editor. This method works for any Windows computer running XP, Vista or Windows 7.

 Open the Character Map utility as follows:

  1. click the Windows “Start Menu” button;
  2. click “Programs” or “All Programs,” depending on your Windows set-up ; and
  3. click “Accessories” » “System Tools” » “Character Map.”

 This opens a dialog box similar to the one shown in the image below. If you are using a newer version of Windows – I use XP Pro – you may see a slightly different version. Don’t panic, it works in the same way. 

Microsoft Windows Character Map
The Windows™ Character-Map utility dialog box

To insert a special symbol in your article when using the InfoBarrel editor, do the following: 

  1. select the font you want to use from the drop-down menu at the top of the dialog box. I usually stick with Arial, but you can try other fonts if you want;
  2. scroll through the character set and find the character you want to insert;
  3. click the character and then click “Select”; you should see the character appear in the “Characters to Copy” box;
  4. click “Copy”;
  5. switch to the browser window and position the cursor where you want to insert the symbol; and
  6. paste the symbol into your article using CTL+v keys.
Select the character you want to insertCredit: Select the character you want to insert
Find the character you want and then click “Select”


  • If you need to insert two or more consecutive symbols, you can select more than one character from the character map and copy the entire selection together. 
  • If you use the character map frequently, set up a shortcut on your desktop or menu bar to access the utility directly.
  • If the symbol that you want is not displayed in the character set, try another font, as not all fonts have identical characters.

 I have tried both techniques using Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, and they work fine with XP Pro. I hope they help you save time and avoid frustration when you have your own “learning opportunity” to deal with.