How to Insert Symbol and Characters in Google Sheets (Easy)

Google Sheets don't have an in-built feature to insert special characters, but there are 5 easy workarounds...

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Shivam Kumar
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Sometimes while working on a spreadsheet, you may want to insert special characters or symbols.

From copyright symbols to plain checkmarks, using these can add variety to your spreadsheet and make things stand out.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to insert symbols in Google Sheets.


How to Insert Symbol In Google Sheets?

To insert a symbol in Google Sheets, use the Unicode of the desired symbol as an argument in the CHAR function. For example, entering =CHAR(9742) in a cell will insert a telephone symbol in the spreadsheet.

01. Insert Special Character Using The Character Map

The first and most common way to insert special character in Google Sheets is to use the windows character map feature.

Here’s how it works:

  1. To begin, go to the Start menu on your Windows PC, search for Character Map and then launch the app.
Windows Character Map
  1. You’ll get a pop-up panel showing a bunch of special characters for a specific font.
Windows character map popup
  1. Click on one of the special characters or symbol that you want to use in your spreadsheet and then click on the Select button. They’ll appear in the “Characters to copy” field.
select character from character map
  1. Once you’ve selected the desired characters, click on the Copy button to copy the characters to the clipboard.
copy special character from character map
  1. Finally, open the Google spreadsheet, select the cell where you want to insert the special character and press Ctrl + V button.
insert special character in Google Sheets

02. Insert Symbols using Google Docs

If you don’t want to use the Windows Character Map to insert symbols, you can utilize the Google Docs native character map feature.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Open a Google Docs document and go to the Insert menu and then select Special Characters from the drop-down menu items.
Google docs insert menu
  1. The Special Characters dialog box will appear with two dropdown menus to select category and subcategory of special characters. To change the type of symbol, click on the drop-down box under Symbol and from there you can choose from a variety of symbol types such as Symbol, Emoji, Punctuation, numbers, and more.
insert special character in Google docs
  1. Next, click on your desired character to insert it into your Google Docs document.
Insert special character in Google Docs
  1. Once you’ve the desired character in Google Docs document, Just copy and paste it into your spreadsheet,
Insert symbol in Google Sheets

03. Insert Special Characters using Add-ons

Does the above copy-pasting method sound like a lot of work to you?

No problem…

You can utilize a Google Sheets add-on to directly insert special characters in Google spreadsheet.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Open a Google spreadsheet and go to Extensions > Add-onsGet add-ons
Get add-on in google sheets
  1. Search for Special Characters from the search bar appearing at top.
searching Special character add-on in Google Sheets
  1. Click on the add-on by hdas49 appearing in the search result.
special character in extension
  1. Click on the Install button and follow the install prompts to complete the installation process.
special character add-ons
  1. Once the add-on is installed, navigate to Extensions > Add-ons > Special Character and click on Insert
Insert special characters in spreadsheet through add-on
  1. This will open the special character pane in the right side.
special character list
  1. Just select a cell and click on the desired special character to insert it into your spreadsheet.
choose desired symbol

That’s it…

symbol in google spreadsheet

04. Insert Symbol using Alt Code

Do you know all symbols or special characters have designated alt key codes?


So, if you have a numeric keyboard, you can use the Alt code to insert symbols in Google Sheets.

All you need to do is hold the Alt key and then type the code. For example, Alt + 3 will insert the ‘heart’ symbol.

Insert symbol in Google Sheets using Alt Code

Now you must be wondering how will I remember the alt-code of each special character.

Well, you can just do a quick search on Google for your desired character or visit a site like this to find the alt-code of all characters in one place.

Alt code list

05. Insert Symbols Using CHAR function

Just like alt code, all special characters or symbols also have an associated Unicode.

You just need to use the Unicode as the argument in the CHAR function to insert a particular symbol.

For example, using the Unicode ‘9742’ in the CHAR function will insert the ‘telephone’ symbol in the spreadsheet.

add symbol in Google Sheets using CHAR function
inserting symbol using =CHAR(9742)

You can refer to this GitHub page to find Unicode for different symbols.

Unicode for symbols list Github page


Final Thought on Inserting Symbols in Google Sheets:

Although Google Sheets has yet not introduced a native feature to insert special characters like MS Excel, still the above workarounds are quite easy and straightforward.

Do you have any questions about how to insert symbols in Google Sheets? Comment down below.

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