How to Type / Insert Degree Symbol in Word

Using the degree symbol (°) instead of its word is a great way to show expertise and care in your writing. At some point, you probably have experienced copying the symbol over the internet so that you can paste and use it on your documents. While this does do the job, it’s not the best way to do it. There are great alternatives that achieve the same result and can be done offline on MS Word.

Now, there are three methods you can use to insert a degree symbol in MS Word.

3 Ways to Insert Degree Symbol in MS Word

  • Using the keyboard shortcut
  • Using the Symbol dialog box
  • Using the Character Map tool

MS Word has prepared its interface for users who need to have access to all types of ASCII symbols. This can be something like em dashes or, in this case, the degree symbol. These three methods are just some of the ways to solve this problem. There’s a large variety of ways to insert a degree symbol in MS Word, but these are the major and easy ones to do.

Let’s get started!

Why Should You Type Degree Symbols in MS Word?

The usual reason for wanting to type the symbol instead of the word “degree” is to have a neater document. This typographical symbol is commonly used to represent temperature readings or angles. So, if you are working on these types of contents, it’s just proper to use the symbol. However, there are exceptions in using this. Not every instance of the word “degree” has to be replaced with the “°” symbol. You need to know first the contexts in which it can be used. 

For you to be guided, here are some good rules of thumb to help you decide when to use the degree symbol:

  • You are working on a document that focuses on scientific contents, such as temperatures, latitude, longitude, and the like.
  • You need to include a mathematical equation in your document that uses degree symbols on measurements.

These are the common types of documents wherein you would expect to use the degree symbol. If you find yourself in situations similar to the list stated above, there’s no need to worry because the methods in this article surely got you covered.

Let’s dive right in!

Method 1: Using the Keyboard Shortcut

The most straightforward way of inserting a degree symbol is by using the shortcut keys on your keyboard. This method’s only drawback is that it may not be suitable for you if your computer doesn’t have a numeric keypad. If you don’t have it for now, you can still continue reading this method so that you can apply it in the future.

Here’s how you can do that.

Step 1: Launch the MS Word program.

Start by searching and opening the MS Word program on your computer. Just press the Windows key on your keyboard and type “Word” to let your system find the program. Filter the result and click the MS Word program to open it. 

Step 2: Open a new or existing document.

From the Start screen of MS Word, either create a blank document or open an existing document. A sample document is being shown below for your reference. You can either use your own existing document, or create one from scratch if you want a cleaner canvas.

Step 3: Position your mouse cursor to where you want to insert the degree symbol.

With your document already open, identify the part where you will insert the degree symbol. Once identified, click on it to place your mouse cursor on that area. You can also highlight a word to replace it with the degree symbol once it is inserted.

Step 4: Turn off Num Lock.

Before you can proceed with the shortcut keys combination, ensure that the Num Lock on your keyboard is turned off. Some keyboards are equipped with light indicators to show users if the Num Lock is currently on or off. If your keyboard doesn’t have this feature, you just have to test its state. Try typing a number using your numeric keypad. If the number does not appear on your screen, then Num Lock is currently on. Toggle the state by simply pressing the Num Lock key on your keyboard. Once it is turned off, you can now proceed with the next step.

Step 5: Press the appropriate shortcut keys.

Now that the Num Lock has been turned off, you can already use the shortcut keys. Hold the Alt key on your keyboard and use the numeric keypad to press the keys 0,1,7,6 respectively. Once done, release the Alt key to insert the degree symbol.

Method 2: Using the Symbol Dialog Box

Another method that you can use to insert a degree symbol is through the Symbol dialog box. Unlike the first method, this technique does not utilize a Numeric keypad. This can be your immediate alternative if you don’t have one.

Below are the steps on how you can access and use the dialog box.

Step 1: Open a Word document.

To follow along with this tutorial, you’ll need to have an open document already. Open the MS Word program and use the appropriate controls to either create a new or open an already-saved document.

Step 2: Move your mouse cursor to the part where the degree symbol will be inserted.

On your document, determine the location where you will insert the symbol and click it to position your mouse cursor. If you wish to replace a word or phrase with the symbol that you will insert, just highlight it.

Step 3: Access the Symbol dialog box.

Click the Insert tab on the ribbon to make it active. From here, locate the Symbol drop-down button and click it. This action will display a list of the recently-used symbols under it. If you haven’t used a degree symbol recently, it probably won’t appear in the list yet. For this reason, you’ll need to click the More Symbols button.

Step 4: Find and insert the degree symbol.

With the Symbol dialog box already active, find the degree sign on the list of symbols. Use the vertical scroll bar to scroll through the list until you find the symbol. You can confirm the name of a symbol under the label Unicode name, which is located on the lower-left corner of the dialog box. Once you have found the degree sign, just click on it and click the Insert button. The dialog box will not close yet to let you insert additional symbols. Once you are done, just click the Close button.

Method 3: Using the Character Map Tool

You can also use the Character Map application to insert a degree symbol into your documents. It’s good to know that this is a pre-installed program, and you can also utilize this in other applications, not just MS Word.

To properly utilize this program in MS Word, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open a document in MS Word

Just like the other methods, you’ll need to open a Word document. You can use an existing document in your file storage or start with a blank one. Just click the appropriate control on the Start screen to get you started.

Step 2: Determine where you need to insert the degree symbol.

Click the part of your content where you intend to place the degree symbol. Keep in mind that highlighting a word or phrase lets you replace it with the symbol that you will insert. If you do not want to replace anything, just make sure to place the cursor in your desired area without highlighting any character near it.

Step 3: Launch the Character Map application.

In this step, you’ll need to find and search the Character Map program, which, as stated earlier, is a pre-installed program. Press the Windows key on your keyboard and immediately type “Character Map”. Doing this will let your system find the application. Click it from the result to open the program. 

Step 4: Copy the degree sign on the Character Map application.

With the Character Map application already open, you need to search for the degree symbol on it. Located at the bottom of the window is the Advanced view checkbox. Tick this checkbox to display the search controls. In the search box, type “Degree” and click the Search button beside it to find the symbol. The program automatically filters the list and will display only symbols that are related to your search condition. 

From the result, double click the degree symbol. Notice that the symbol appears on the Characters to copy field. Click the Copy button to store the selected symbol in your clipboard. After which, you can exit the Character Map application.

Step 5: Paste the degree sign to the document.

Now that you have successfully copied the degree sign from the Character Map application, you can already paste it into your document. Press Ctrl and V keys simultaneously on your keyboard to paste the copied sign. Notice that the symbol will appear on where your mouse cursor is currently located.


Congratulations on reaching the end of this article. Here’s a quick overview of everything we discussed today. 

You may have realized by now that there are various ways to insert degree symbols without relying on the internet. Review these methods and apply them every time you come across the issue of having to place this symbol in your documents. You can use your numpad as a shortcut key, open the character map, and use the Symbol dialog box tool.

We hope you found this article helpful!

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