Sometimes you want to include the temperature or use the correct notation for angles rather than simply typing out the word “degrees”. So knowing how to insert the degree symbol is very useful. A cursory glance at your PC keyboard will show a distinct lack of the ‘°’ icon though, so where can you actually find it?
There are a couple of ways to easily add this to your prose and we’ll show you the steps you need to take.
Using the number pad on your PC
There are a number of superscript symbols available in Windows, far too many in fact for them to have dedicated buttons on a keyboard. To summon them you can use an ‘character code’ allocated to each individual symbol.
For this technique to work you’ll need to have a number pad on your keyboard. Desktop models usually come equipped with these (the rectangle of numbers on the right side of the keyboard), and it’s often a feature on 15.6” laptops too.
Sadly, smaller laptops forgo the number pad due to lack of space, so you’ll need to skip to the next section if you own one of these models.
To insert the degree symbol hold down the ALT key and keep it down while you type 0176. Release the ALT key and you should see the symbol appear. In some instances, you might need to press the Num Lock key (so its light is shining) for this technique to work.
Using the Symbol Menu in Microsoft Word
If you have Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, or any decent word processor on your PC then you’ll be able to use the Special Character or Symbol menus to insert the degree symbol.
On Word select the Insert tab at the top of the ribbon and you should see the Symbol section appear at the far right of the screen. Click on this and you’ll see a collection of your most recently used symbols.
At the bottom, you’ll see the More Symbols option. Click this and Word will open up a grid full of the various symbols you can use. Look for the degree icon and click on it to highlight the choice.
Just above the AutoCorrect button at the bottom of the box you’ll see a description of the symbol you’ve selected – in this case it should say Degree Sign. If all is as it should be then click the Insert button and you’ll see the degree symbol appear in your document.
Now, when you open the Symbol menu the degree symbol should be in the recently used section that appears, saving you having to go searching for it again.
Another often requested symbol is the one for square metres, so read our How to get a square metre symbol on keyboard guide if you’re looking to add these into your work.