How to Insert Signs and Symbols in Excel & Google Sheets

Written by

Mel Jenkins

Reviewed by

Laura Tsitlidze

Last updated on June 1, 2023

This tutorial will show you how to insert symbols into Excel and Google Sheets.

symbols intro


Excel provides a variety of ways to enter symbols in Excel. You can also use the Windows 10 built-in keyboard to enter emojis in Excel.

Insert Symbols

  1. In the Ribbon, select Insert > Symbols > Symbol.

symbols ribbon

  1. The Symbol field appears. You can resize the field if you want to see more symbols by dragging the lower right corner of the field.

symbols insert symbol

  1. Let’s use the Delta example to show how you can use the symbol field. Set the font to (normal text) and use the drop-down list on the right to change the subset from Standard Latin to Mathematical Operators. Then select the Increment icon. (Delta is also under Greek and Coptic as Greek Capital Letter Delta)

symbols insert delta

  1. Click on Insert and then on Close.

Symbole einfuegen zeigen Delta Excel

Follow the same steps to insert other symbols, including:

Symbol Unicode name Subset
capital letter delta Increment Mathematical operators
lowercase delta δ Greek lowercase delta Greek and Coptic
is not equal to Not the same as Mathematical operators
sum Σ Greek capital letter sigma Greek and Coptic
division ÷ Division sign Latin-1 addition
multiplication × Sign of multiplication Latin-1 addition
negative Minus sign Mathematical operators
standard deviation σ Greek lower case letter Sigma Greek and Coptic
Lira Lira sign Currency symbols
left arrow Left arrow Arrows
bullet Bullet General punctuation

symbols insert sum

symbols insert division

symbols insert pound

insert arrows

Icons, Webdings, and Wingdings Fonts

You can also change the font in the Font drop-down box to Symbols, Webdings, or Wingdings to get more built-in symbols, such as the smiley face, sad face, or checkmark.

  1. Take the smiley face, for example. Choose Wingdings as the font. (Note that the Subset field disappears)

symbols wingdings

  1. Select the smiley face and click Insert.

symbols smiley

  1. Click Close to close the Symbol panel. Notice that the smiley is displayed in the formula bar as the letter J; however, the font has now changed to Wingdings.

symbols show wingdings

Another way to insert a smiley in Excel is to type “J” in the cell and then change the font to Wingdings. Here is an example of typing a different symbol with Wingdings:

  1. To insert a sad face in Excel, type the letter L in a cell.
  2. In the Ribbon, choose Home > Font, and then choose Wingdings from the Font drop-down box.

symbols sad face

  1. The L is changed to a sad face.

To insert a delta symbol, change the font to Symbol and then type the letter D in a cell.

symbols insert delta symbol font

Insert Symbols With Alt Codes

You can hold down the Alt key and then type a number on the keyboard to display the corresponding Alt code for that number. For example, if you type ALT + 3 > 0 (Alt 30), Excel inserts the Delta symbol (▲).

symbol insert delta alt

The following are some examples of Alt key codes:

Alt code Symbol Description
ALT + 2 Smiley
ALT + 3 Heart
ALT + 4 Diamond
ALT + 5 Club
ALT + 6 Spades
ALT + 7 Ball
ALT + 8 Bullet
ALT + 9 Bullet
ALT + 1 > 6 Start
ALT + 1 > 7 Back
ALT + 1 > 8 Double arrow (up/down)
ALT + 1 > 9 Double exclamation mark
ALT + 2 > 4 Down arrow
ALT + 2 > 5 Arrow up
ALT + 2 > 6 Arrow right
ALT + 2 > 7 Left arrow
ALT + 2 > 9 Double arrow (left/right)
ALT + 3 > 0 Triangle

Insert Emojis

In Windows 10, you can use the built-in touch keyboard to insert emojis in Excel.

  1. If the keyboard button is displayed in the lower right corner of the screen, right-click on the taskbar and select Show Touch Keyboard Button.

symbols show keyboard

The keyboard button should now appear in the lower right corner of the screen.

symbols show keyboard button

  1. Click the button to display the keyboard on the screen below Excel.

symbols keyboard excel

  1. Click the smiley face on the keyboard to display face emojis.

symbols keyboard emojis

100 Points Emoji

  1. Click the heart icon on the touch keyboard, and then scroll to the right to find the 100-point emoji.

symbols insert 100

  1. The 100-point emoji is inserted into your current cell.

symbol insert 100 excel

  1. To change the color of the emoji, choose Home > Font > Font Color from the Ribbon.

symbol insert 100 excel red

You can insert any other emoji using the keyboard in the same way and change the font color as needed.

Insert Symbols Into Google Sheets

Google Sheets Add-in

Adding symbols to Google Sheets requires a few steps, which we’ve outlined below. However, if you frequently use symbols, you might consider using this Google Sheets add-in ($7), which simplifies the process.

Alt Codes in Google Sheets

Alt code works the same way in Google Sheets as it does in Excel. The secret is that you need to be in edit mode in the cell before you press the Alt key.

  1. Select the cell where you want to place the symbol.
  2. Press F2 to enter edit mode.
  3. Press ALT plus an appropriate number to enter the desired symbol in the cell – for example, Alt 30 to enter a delta symbol (▲).

symbols insert delta alt

Special Characters in Google Docs

Google Sheets does not have a symbol function. Google Documents, on the other hand, does. If you want to insert symbols into Google Sheets, open a Google document and copy and paste them from that document into the Google spreadsheet.

  1. From the File menu, choose New > Document.

symbols insert google doc

A new tab opens in the browser, displaying a new Google document.

  1. From the Insert menu, choose Special Characters.

symbols insert google doc special characters

In the left drop-down box, you can choose from various categories, such as icon, emoji, punctuation, etc.

symbols insert google doc list

  1. Select Symbol in the left field and Currency in the right field.

symbsols insert google doc currency

  1. Click the symbol you selected to insert it into the Google document.

symbols insert google doc pound

  1. Click the X in the upper right corner to close the Insert Special Character box.
  2. Highlight the icon with your mouse, and then press CTRL + C to copy the symbol.
  3. Switch back to the Google sheet and press CTRL + V to paste the symbol into a cell.

Insert Emojis in Google Sheets

You can insert emojis in Google Sheets using the touch keyboard in the same way as in Excel.

  1. Click the Touch Keyboard button to display the keyboard on the screen, and then click the smiley face.
  2. Click each emoji you want to type into the Google sheet; you can type multiple emojis into a cell if necessary.

symbols insert emojis google sheets

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