In Macs, the keyboard shortcuts for The ANSI character set can be utilized in the Mac OS by holding down the OPT key and typing the character. Below  are some common Windows and Mac shortcuts. For more, go to the Apple menu and select 'Key Caps' or check the Help of your particular application.

Common Mac keyboard shortcuts for character sets

To Insert Press
ÀàÈèÌìÒòÙù OPT+` then the letter
ÁáÉéÍíÓóÚúÝý OPT+e then the letter
ÂâÊêÎîÔôÛû OPT+i then the letter
ÃãÑñÕõ OPT+n then the letter
ÄäËëÏïÖöÜüŸÿ OPT+u then the letter
¿ OPT+SHIFT+? or OPT+?
° OPT+0
¡ OPT+1
£ OPT+3
¢ OPT+4
§ OPT+6
÷ OPT+/

Some applications (such as TextPad and Mail but not Microsoft Word) can take advantage of the Mac OS X capability which allows you to type in Unicode glyphs by holding down the ALT/OPT button while typing in the 4 digit Unicode code point. This feature must first be enabled:

  1. Open the 'International' system preferences panel.
  2. Switch to the 'Keyboard Menu' tab.
  3. Scroll down to the 'Unicode Hex Input' layout and put a check next to it.
  4. Close the window.

Those steps put a flag icon in the top right of your system menu bar. Use the icon to select "Unicode Hex Input" whenever you want to enter something like the infinity symbol (, U+221E) via ALT/OPT+ 221E.

Find more Mac OS X shortcuts at Shortcuts [,00.shtml].


Numeric Keypad

There are "hidden" keyboard shortcuts that vary by OS, app, and version. I have included some comments from an email reply I got from "Dr. International" at Microsoft on 2005-04-25. The examples were as of Windows 2000 Server.

  1. ALT+DecimalANSICode. Hold ALT, then type the ANSI value in decimal on the numeric keypad. If the number is preceded by a zero and is less than 256, Windows assumes you a decimal code point in the current keyboard/input language. For most Americans, this is a Windows ANSI code.
    • EG: ALT+0165 yields a Yen symbol (¥) for its Windows ANSI character. This works in most apps.
    • EG: ALT+013 yields a CR (Carriage Return) in Notepad but does nothing in Wordpad.
  2. ALT+DecimalOEMCode. Hold ALT, then type the OEM code (>0 but <256) in decimal on the numeric keypad. Windows will try to convert the OEM code into the Windows 1252 code equivalent if it exists.
    • EG: ALT+165 yields a capital N with tilde (Ñ) for its ECS character.
    • EG: ALT+13 yields a white smiling face in Note pad but does nothing in Wordpad. An OEM document will not save well in Window but in W2000+ it will save nicely as Unicode.
  3. ALT+DecimalUnicode. Hold ALT, then type the four digit Unicode value in decimal on the numeric keypad.
    • EG: ALT+0256 yields Ā in Wordpad but does nothing for Notepad.
    • Dr. International:
      • 'This is only available in richedit 4.1 and above. Thus if you have Windows XP SP1 or better you should have this. WordPad use this version of RichEdit and it should work for you. '
  4. ALT+++HexadecimalUnicode. Hold ALT, then press + on the numeric keypad, then the four digit Unicode value in hexadecimal not necessarily on the numeric keypad, then release ALT.
    • EG: ALT+++0165 yields ¥. I assume that the fix below would make this work but I won't mess with the Registry unless I have to.
    • Dr. International:
      • 'To use this, you need to set a value in the System Registry using RegEdit. (NOTE Make sure you backup the Registry before changing it). Here is what you need to do:
        • a. You need to open RegEdit
        • b. Then go to HKCurrent_User/Control Panel/Input Method
        • c. Set REG_SZ "EnableHexNumpad" to be "1" (If there is no EnableHexNumpad, then add it and set its value to 1).
        • d. Reboot your system.
      • This should now enable this for you.'

There is a fifth related method, but it does not actually use the numeric keypad:

  1. HexadecimalUnicode, ALT+X Enter a Unicode value in hexadecimal (EG: Enter 00A5for U+00A5), then press ALT+X or ALT+SHIFT+CTRL+F12 to yield ¥. Note that this shortcut does not actually use the numeric keypad. Later versions of Word or Wordpad, or anything that uses a "Rich Edit Control". (FYI: Typing ALT+SHIFT+x converts the Unicode character preceding the insertion point to the corresponding Unicode hexadecimal value.)
    • EG: 100, ALT+X yields Ā in Wordpad but does nothing in Notepad.
    • Dr. International:
      • 'This method should work in both Wordpad on Windows XP SP1 and Word 2002 and Word 2003, but it does not work in Notepad.'

For certain lower level applications, the keypad can be used to enter bytes. That is, use the values between 0000 and 0255 to enter any byte between x00 and xFF. This might be convenient for entering things like Unicode.


Input Locale

One of the easiest and least obtrusive ways to get more shortcuts is to have the operating system switch to a different keyboard layout. In America, the default keyboar setting is for US English (US) and you'll want to switch to US International (USX).

For Windows XP: Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options -> Languages tab -> Details button (which opens Text Services and Input Languages dialog box) -> Installed Services -> Add button -> Keyboard layout/IME -> United State-International. Then back in the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box, play with your preferences.

For Windows Vista: Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options -> Keyboards and Languages tab -> Change keyboards button General tab -> Add button -> English keyboard United State-International.

Here are the differences between US and US-International:

  • If you happen to have a physical USX keyboard, you will see that th ENTER key has a different shape larger, the \ key has been moved to the third row, and the ALT key is marked AltGr. If you dont have a physical USX keyboard, then this point is moot.
  • The right hand ALT key (AltGr) is now a totally different button from the left hand ALT key.
  • The International version has dead keys. When you hit a dead key, nothing happens initially.
    • If you hit a dead key, then hit a key that wants to "wear" that accent, then a combination appears. EG: Typing ` then SHIFT+A yields À. That is:
      • ` can make: ÀàÈèÌìÒòÙù
      • ' can make: ÁáÇçÉéÍíÓóÚúÝý
      • ^ can make: ÂâÊêÎîÔôÛû
      • ~ can make: ÃãÑñÕõ
      • " can make: ÄäËëÏïÖöÜüÿ (not Ÿ which isn't ISO Latin 1 compliant anyway)
    • If you hit a dead key, then you hit a key that doesn't combine with the dead key, then you get the literal dead key followed by the character. EG: Typing ~H yields ~h.
    • If you hit a dead key, then you hit the SPACEBAR, the dead key appears alone. EG: Typing 'SPACEBAR yields '.
    • If you hit a dead key twice, then it enters that character twice. EG: Typing "" yields "". This may seem inconvenient, but for ' and ", this is frequently what you need anyway.
  • All the characters shown below are ISO Latin 1 compliant except for these three: , , and . They should have made and available as ALTGR+SHIFT+9 and ALTGR+SHIFT+0, even though they aren't ISO Latin 1 compliant either.
  • The USX keyboard has all the ISO Latin 1 characters except for the following. I think they could've squeezed them in! I would have appreciated the middle dot and the plus or minus sign.
    •  , &#0160;, &#xA0;, non-breaking space.
    • ª, &#0170;, &#xAA;, feminine ordinal
    • ­, &#0173;, &#xAD;, soft hyphen
    • ¯, &#0175;, &#xAF;, macron
    • ±, &#0177;, &#xB1;, plus or minus sign
    • ·, &#0183;, &#xB7;, middle dot
    • ¸, &#0184;, &#xB8;, cedilla
    • º, &#0186;, &#xBA;, masculine ordinal
US English US English International
US English keyboard layout
US English keyboard layout with SHIFT pressed
Screenshots lovingly borrowed from Microsoft [2003-08-25].
US-International keyboard layout
US-International keyboard layout with SHIFT pressed
US-International keyboard layout with ALTGR pressed
US-International keyboard layout with ALTGR and SHIFT pressed
US-International keyboard layout from Wikipedia

Character Map

  • The W9x version only shows Windows ANSI shortcuts.
  • The NT and W2000 versions show both Windows ANSI shortcuts as well as the Unicode values.
  • Both display 32 characters per row (since 32 characters is hexadecimal character codes x0 through (x+1)F).


  • The NT and W2000 versions will display the ECS character if its shortcut does not have a Windows ANSI equivalent, but the W9x version will not. However if you reopen the file, the former ECS character will now show as the closest Windows ANSI equivalent. EG: ALT+228 in NT yields the capital Greek symbol for sigma (Σ) but it yields an underscore (_) in W95. When the NT file is saved and reopened, the sigma is now a capital S
  • The NT and W2000 versions default to ANSI (Windows 1252) but have the option to save as Unicode (UTF-16LE), Unicode big endian (UTF-16BE), or UTF-8.
  • If you've saved a file in Unicode, you can convert it back to Windows ANSI with this syntax at a command line:
    C:\> UnicodeFile > ANSIFile 


Here are notes on dashes, hyphens, quotation marks, and such.


H's surround the dash characters displayed.

Character &#xNCR; &#NCR; &CER; Note
H-H 2D 45   hyphen, minus
H=H 3D 61   equal
H_H 5F 95   lowline, spacing underscore
H~H 7E 126   tilde, approximate, swung dash
H­H AD 173 shy soft hyphen, discretionary hyphen, optional hyphen.
Indicates where a line breaks may occur within a word.
H¯H AF 175 macr Macron
H°H B0 176 deg Degree sign
H±H B1 177 plusmn Plus minus sign
H·H B7 183 middot Middle dot
H¸H B8 184 cedil Cedilla.
H‐H 2010 8208   hyphen character
Not in HTML 2011 8209   non-breaking hyphen
H‒H 2012 8210   dash
H–H 2013 8211 ndash en dash
Beware of ANSI 1252 "equivalent".
H—H 2014 8212 mdash em dash, long dash
Beware of ANSI 1252 "equivalent".
H―H 2015 8213   3 em dash
H•H 2022 8226 bull bullet
Beware of ANSI 1252 "equivalent".
H…H 2026 8230 hellip ellipsis
Beware of ANSI 1252 "equivalent".
H‧H 2027 8231   hyphenation point
H‾H 203E 8254 oline overline, spacing overscore
H−H 2212 8722 minus minus character
H∼H 223C 8764 sim approximately
H≈H 2248 8776 asymp approximately equal
H≡H 2261 8801 equiv definition


H's surround the quotation marks shown.

Character &#xNCR; &#NCR; &CER; Note ASCII Approximation
H"H 22 34 quot double quote mark NA
H'H 27 39 apos apotstrophe. Avoid using &apos;. NA
H,H 2C 44   comma NA
H`H 60 96   grave accent NA
H‹H 2039 8249 lsaquo single left-pointing angle quotation mark < (x3C, 60, left angle bracket, &lt;)
H›H 203A 8250 rsaquo single right-pointing angle quotation mark > (x3E, 62, right angle bracket, &gt;)
H«H AB 171 laquo left-pointing double angle quotation mark
H´H B4 180 acute acute accent '
H»H BB 187 raquo right-pointing double angle quotation mark
H‘H 2018 8216 lsquo single left quotation mark, single high-6
CTRL+` ` in Word
Beware of ANSI 1252 "equivalent"
H’H 2019 8217 rsquo single right quotation mark, single high-9
CTRL+' ' in Word
Beware of ANSI 1252 "equivalent"
H“H 201C 8220 ldquo left double quotation mark, double high-6
CTRL+` " in Word
Beware of ANSI 1252 "equivalent"
H”H 201D 8221 rdquo right double quotation mark, double high-9
CTRL+' " in Word
Beware of ANSI 1252 "equivalent"
H‚H 201A 8218 sbquo single bottom quotation mark, single low-9 quotation mark ,
H„H 201E 8222 bdquo bottom double quotation mark, double low-9 quotation mark ,,
H′H 2032 8242 prime single prime, feet, minutes '
H″H 2033 8243 Prime double prime, inches, seconds "


Underscores surround the space characters displayed.

Character &#xNCR; &#NCR; &CER; Note
_ _ 20 32   normal space, space, word space
_ _ A0 160 nbsp non-breaking space
_ _ 2002 8194 ensp en space
_ _ 2003 8195 emsp em space
_ _ 2009 8201 thinsp thin space
_ _ 200A 8202   hair space
_​_ 200B 8203   zero width space
_‌_ 200C 8204 zwnj zero width non-joiner
_‍_ 200D 8205 zwj zero width joiner
_‎_ 200E 8206 lrm left-to-right mark
_‏_ 200F 8207 rlm right-to-left mark
Not in HTML FEFF 65279   zero width no-break space.
This character is used as a BOM (See Unicode Encoding).

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