I could do it some time ago, but after the interface change I'm not able.

Is it possible to insert the special characters by some keyboard shortcuts?

  • 2
    Could you emphasize what you mean by 'special characters'? Do you mean the Insert -> Special characters menu item? Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 11:55
  • Yes, that's it.
    – deem
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:41
  • I dearly wish they didn't make it so the universal mac shortcut for special characters doesn't work in Docs 😬
    – Damon
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 15:52

5 Answers 5


Unfortunately if you were able to do this before, there is no way to do it now. Here is a link to the updated Help Article on all shortcuts in Docs: https://support.google.com/docs/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=179738

The best way to do it now is Alt+I to access the menu options and C

++Edit (thanks to anon for pointing out easier way to access menus now++

Made an edit to keyboard inputs above to go directly to the Insert menu, and updated the keyboard shortcut for special chars which was changed.


You can set up your own auto-substitution. Under Tools | Preferences check the box for "Automatic substitution". Then you can add whatever character combination in the "Replace" column with what it will automatically be replaced with in the "With" column.

So, for instance, you might have (c) automatically replace © in your document.

(Mine used to be filled with all kinds of shortcuts—as you can see here—but now is blank. I suppose too many people kept asking why their text kept getting replaced.)

  • In my case this add an space after the substitution, without any reason. Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 17:22

This doesn't work for all symbols, but when I work on Google Docs with terms needing Greek or Latin symbols I will open Microsoft Word and insert the symbols to the page. Then on the Google doc I will double-click the footer or header and paste the symbols there. Google Docs will treat them like characters and not require them as part of an equation. That way I have a quick way to copy the symbol I need and paste where I need it.

  • One could use any program, not just Word, to achieve the same result. I usually use Google to find special characters in a pinch. Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 16:32

A lot of different accents and symbols can be put in google docs by selecting option + a letter, but you will have to experiment to find which symbol you need. For example, I have found that on a mac a degrees symbol (˚) is option + k.


There are ways to insert special characters by pressing alt and a number code. For example alt 0151 will give you a dash, like so —

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