How to Type Special Characters on Windows 11


Special characters are commonly used, but hard to find. If you want to type a special character in Windows 11, use this guide to get started.

Your standard QWERTY keyboard includes plenty of keys for punctuation, but only a limited number of special characters.

What happens when you want to type something more specialized, like a character for a math equation, or a character from a different language? You’ll have trouble finding these special characters on a standard keyboard.

Luckily, you can find those characters on Windows 11 if you know where to look. Here’s how to type special characters on Windows 11.

How to Enable the Touch Keyboard in Tablet Mode

Provided you have a touchscreen laptop, you can use the touch keyboard to type several special characters on Windows 11. It’s probably the easiest way to add special characters.

To Enable the Touchscreen for Special Characters

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.Start Settings Windows 11
  2. When Settings opens, navigate to Time & language > Typing > Touch keyboard.time and language touch keyboard
  3. In the Typing menu, check the Show the touch keyboard when there’s no keyboard option.Show the touch keyboard when there's not keyboard attached

Enable Touch Keyboard without Tablet Mode

Another way to access the touch keyboard is by making it show on the taskbar full-time.

Make the Touch Keyboard Accessible

  1. In the Start menu, select Settings.Start Settings Windows 11
  2. From Settings, navigate to Personalization and expand the System tray icons section.system tray icon
  3. Set the Touch keyboard to Always from the dropdown menu.touch keyboard to always
  4. You can access the touch keyboard option from the lower-right corner of the taskbar to bring it up.touch keyboard icon system tray

How to Activate Special Characters on My keyboard

When you need to input a special character in your document, you’ll be able to use the touch keyboard to do so.

Type Special Characters on Windows 11 with Touch Keyboard

  1. Place the blinking cursor where you want to insert your special character in your document.
  2. Click or tap the Touch keyboard icon from the keyboard to make the on-screen keyboard appear.touch keyboard appears
  3. Click and hold a key, or if you’re on touch, press and hold a key on the touch keyboard. It will display extra symbols that you can use instead.special keyboards touch Windows 11
  4. Select the special key you want to use from the touch keyboard, and it will appear in your document.emoji and GIF Special Characters in Document
  5. You can also add emoji or GIF icons. Click on the emoji button (the heart icon on the upper-left corner of the keyboard). That option works well if you want to have fun with the document you’re creating.emoji keyboard

How to Insert Emojis on Windows 11

If you don’t want to use the touch keyboard to type special characters, you can use emojis directly from your document.

To insert emojis on Windows 11, use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + period key to bring up the emoji keyboard. When you select one of the emojis, it’ll add it to your document.

symbols type special characters on windows 11

While this pop-up menu is useful for emojis, you can use it to find GIFs or insert a smaller selection of special characters, such as currency symbols.

How to Use the Character Map on Windows 11

You can also use the older Character Map tool to copy special characters to your keyboard.

Using the Character Map on Windows 11

  1. Open the Start menu and type character map.
  2. Select Character Map as the top character map windows 11
  3. When the Character Map window pops up, you’ll find several different characters you can use with various fonts. Just change the font from the dropdown menu.use character map type special characters
  4. Click the special characters you want to use and click the Select button.
  5. Click the Copy button and paste the special characters into the document when ready.

Using the US International Keyboard

Another option you have is the US International keyboard. It’s suitable for an English speaker who uses special characters, such as diacritical marks or accents.

Access the US International Keyboard

  1. Open the Start menu and press Settings.
    Start Settings Windows 11
  2. Go to Time & Language > Language & region.language Windows 11
  3. Click the three-dot button to the right of English (United States) and select Language options.language and region options
  4. Scroll down and click the Add a keyboard button next to the Installed keyboards option.
  5. Choose the United States – International region keyboard
  6. When you want to use the US – International keyboard, hit the Windows key + Spacebar to bring it up and select it.switch Between keyboards
  7. You can get different combinations to get special characters, (eg. ALT+E to display é). type special characters word document

For additional help, read the Washington State University guide to special characters you can use with the United States International keyboard.

Using Special Characters on Windows 11

The steps above should help you to type and use special characters on Windows 11, whether it’s a diacritical mark or an emoji.

Also, if you are looking for other ways to type special characters, check out our article on typing speicial characters with ALT Codes.

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