There’s a Symbol for that…

I have spent many years scouring the Office symbols library looking for that perfect symbol.  I usually find what I am looking for.  But sometimes, I discover a symbol that I never knew existed, and it becomes my new best friend.

I thought I would share my symbolic friends with you:

Symbol Where is it? How I use it
(normal text)
These are great to add into a Word doc or PowerPoint slide. I am also a huge fan of typing two hyphens and a greater than sign (– – >) and letting Office auto-correct it to an arrow pointing right. (You can also type < – – for the arrow pointing left.I tend to use the left and right arrows the most, but the up and down arrows and the diagonal arrows are a quick way to show my audience where to look on a slide when I am too lazy to draw an arrow.
 ①❷⑳  (normal text)
Enclosed Alphanumerics
The numbers 1 through 20 in white and black circles are available to you in many fonts. (There is font-to-font variation. This example is Calibri.)   I like to use these in Word documents to refer to steps in a process, but use them more often in PowerPoint – especially when building a slide with animations that shows a number of different steps.
(normal text)
Superscripts and Subscripts
The dagger is great to use as a footnote indicator.  Especially when used as a superscript.  Way cooler than an asterisk.
Wingdings When small arrows just won’t do, use their equivalents in Wingdings for more empahsis.  (The diagonal arrows are also available.)If you are really picky, Wingdings 3 (the “Arrow” font) should have something to please you.
Wingdings How can you go wrong with these happy, neutral and sad little symbols?  I will use these when making comments in Word or when I am evaluating options in PowerPoint.  You can make the happy one with a colon and closed paren :) or the sad one with a colon and open paren :( by letting auto-correct do the heavy lifting.
Wingdings Roger Ebert will be proud of you if you use these.   They are a great visual to let your audience know just what you think of alternatives you are discussing in Word or displaying in PowerPoint.
Wingdings My favorite graphic when presenting project status is to use a check mark to indicate when a task is complete or an issue is covered.  Don’t be a dweeb and use the square root symbol ( √ ) from normal text, or you might lose your audience.

Did I miss any of your favorites?

Oh, once for my Programming Languages class I used Word symbols like this: .   But please don’t ask me to explain!   And I have actually used Word’s box drawing symbols (normal text) when commenting my Java code.  They draw a nicer box shape than anything you can do with “-” and “|”.


There’s a Symbol for that… — 2 Comments

  1. This was great. I always had trouble finding out where the Word symbols were. Thanks for posting

    Marian W.