Legal Symbols Keyboard Shortcuts: The Complete Guide to Quickly Typing Legal Symbols on Keyboards

When typing up legal documents, you need to be fast and accurate. However, some of the most common legal symbols aren’t directly available on standard keyboards.

Symbols such as the registered trademark (®), the section mark (§), and the copyright symbol (©) are often tricky to hunt down. It’s frustrating to search for these symbols when time is of the essence.


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The answer, therefore, is to use legal symbols keyboard shortcuts.

Surprisingly, keyboard shortcuts can save you the equivalent of 8 workdays each year – boosting your productivity by 3.3%.

In this blog post, we show you:

  • Why legal symbol shortcuts are important
  • How you can access them
  • How to create your own keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols

Stop wasting time copying and pasting. Here’s what you need to know.

Table of Contents

    A Quick Summary: Keyboard Shortcuts for Legal Symbols (Windows and Mac)

    Here’s a quick breakdown if you just need to know the basic keyboard shortcuts for common legal symbols.

    If you’d prefer a step-by-step guide on activating some of these shortcuts, leap ahead for the details.

    What Are Keyboard Shortcuts?

    Keyboard shortcuts are quick key combinations that save you time when performing tasks in Microsoft Word and other programs.

    For example, on a Windows PC, make sure your “Num Lock” key is switched on, then hold down the “Alt” key and type “0169” on the number pad. Once you release the “Alt” key, the copyright symbol will be inserted.

    On Mac, it’s even quicker. You just press “Option” (⌥) and a corresponding key together.

    Keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols cut down several clicks into one or two presses, meaning you can type them quickly mid-writing.

    The alternative: Inserting special symbols without a keyboard shortcut

    The alternative to using keyboard shortcuts for symbols is tedious and likely to grind your work to a halt.

    Let’s assume you want to insert the legal section symbol in a Word document. Here’s how you’d insert legal symbols without keyboard shortcuts, step by step.

    1. In Word, click the “Insert” tab at the top of your window.

    1. Find the “Symbol” option on the right-hand side. Click that to pull up a list of common but nonstandard symbols.

    1. Click the “More Symbols” tab, and a larger window opens, where you can hunt around for the symbols you need.

    1. Then, click the “Insert” button at the bottom of that window.


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    It’s not just Word users feeling the hassle. This process is just as tedious through MacOS Pages and Google Docs. It’s time to start using shortcuts.

    Why Use Keyboard Shortcuts for Legal Symbols?

    There are three main reasons why legal symbols keyboard shortcuts make life easier.

    Here’s a quick summary before we explore them in a bit more detail.

    Reason Why it matters
    Save time and draft faster Preparing legal documents is a time-consuming process, and inserting symbols adds more hassle
    Reduce the risk of errors The more side-tasks you have, the higher the risk of you making mistakes in crucial legal documents – shortcuts prevent these mistakes
    Keep formatting tight Fonts and formatting vary across different legal documents, and shortcuts help you stay consistent

    Save time and draft faster

    As legal professionals, you likely spend much of your day drafting and performing administrative tasks instead of actively practicing law. Moreover, 77% of lawyers work overtime to make up for work that wasn’t completed during business hours.

    Consider how much of your actual working time is already swallowed up by inserting and pasting symbols every two or three lines.

    Keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols reduce the time you spend searching for the right menus and finding what to insert. You keep your writing flowing without stopping every few seconds, too.

    Reduce the risk of errors

    With the right keyboard shortcuts, you know you’re getting the law symbol you need each time you press.

    Manually looking for symbols adds extra side tasks to your writing workload. The more side tasks you add, the more you risk misspelling words, inserting the wrong symbol, and losing your train of thought.

    On the other hand, fewer interruptions means fewer errors. As mentioned, you need to be fast and precise, which is why keyboard shortcuts are so helpful.

    Keep formatting tight

    While it might seem easy to copy and paste symbols from previous legal documents, you risk mixing up formatting styles.

    For example, you might use different legal fonts, paragraph spacing, and document styles. Your pasted symbol might end up looking disjointed and unprofessional.

    Instead, keyboard shortcuts ensure you type the legal symbols you need from scratch in the formatting you’re currently working with.

    Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Legal Symbols

    Let’s explore how to insert common legal symbols in a few key presses.

    Before we start, remember that the keyboard shortcuts we share in this guide are the defaults for both Windows and MacOS. Sometimes, you might need to follow different key combinations (otherwise known as keybindings) for the symbols you need.

    If this problem arises, consider creating your own keyboard shortcuts you’re likely to remember. Jump ahead to find out how.

    Using Windows’ numeric lock (Num Lock)

    As a Windows user, you might need to switch on the numeric lock (Num Lock) before inserting legal symbols in Word and other programs.

    On full-size keyboards, activating Num Lock lets you use the full numeric keypad on the right-hand side. This allows you to insert legal symbols by holding the “Alt” key while entering a numeric sequence on the keypad.

    Num Lock’s position on your keyboard varies depending on your PC or laptop. Once you find the key marked “Num Lock” or “NumLock”, press it once to switch on and again to switch off.

    However, a physical numeric keypad isn’t always available on smaller keyboards, such as certain laptops.

    You have two options to access a virtual numeric keypad in this case. You can either use:

    • Num Lock to transform existing keys to numbers
    • Windows’ onscreen keyboard

    Using Num Lock to transform existing keys

    The “Num Lock” button typically transforms the following keys:

    • 7, 8, 9 → 1, 2, 3
    • U, I, O → 4, 5, 6
    • J, K, L→ 7, 8, 9
    • M→ 0

    On some laptops, Num Lock is activated by holding the “Fn” key and another key (like “F4”, “F7”, “F8”, F11”, “Insert”, or “End”). Look for a key that has an additional “Num Lock” label or an icon resembling a calculator.

    Please note that the availability of this “hidden” numeric keypad varies according to manufacturer. If your keyboard doesn’t have Num Lock or you can’t access this feature, use the next option instead.

    Using Windows’ onscreen keyboard:

    Use the following steps to launch the onscreen keyboard from your Start menu:

    1. Open your Start menu.
    2. In the search bar (with the magnifying glass icon), type “osk,” and press “Enter” to bring up the virtual keyboard. If this doesn’t work, press your “Windows” key and R together to bring up the Run dialog. Here, enter “osk” and click “OK.”
    3. Click “Options” on the virtual keyboard.
    4. Check the “Turn on numeric key pad” box, then click “OK.”
    5. Click the “Num Lock” key on your virtual keyboard to switch it on.
    6. To enter an Alt shortcut code, hold the “Fn” and “Alt” keys on your physical keyboard together. While you hold the keys, click the digits on the virtual keypad for your shortcut. For example, 0, 1, 6, then 9 for the copyright symbol.
    7. Release “Fn” and “Alt” and your special symbol will appear.

    With the above points considered, here’s how to type common legal symbols using Windows and MacOS.

    How to make the section symbol on keyboard (§ or double S)

    For Windows PCs:

    1. Select where you’d like to insert the symbol
    2. Turn on Num Lock
    3. Press and hold the “Alt” key
    4. While holding, press 0, 1, 6, 7 in sequence
    5. Release “Alt”

    For Macs:

    1. Decide where you’d like your symbol to go
    2. Press “Option” (⌥) and 6 together

    How to insert a copyright symbol (©)

    For Windows PCs:

    1. Select where you’d like to insert the symbol
    2. Turn on Num Lock
    3. Press and hold the “Alt” key
    4. While holding, press 0, 1, 6, 9 in sequence
    5. Release “Alt”

    For Macs:

    1. Decide where you’d like your symbol to go
    2. Press “Option” (⌥) and G together

    How to insert a trademark symbol (™)

    For Windows PCs:

    1. Select where you’d like to insert the symbol
    2. Turn on Num Lock
    3. Press and hold the “Alt” key
    4. While holding, press 0, 1, 5, 3 in sequence
    5. Release “Alt”

    For Macs:

    1. Decide where you’d like your symbol to go
    2. Press “Option” (⌥) and 2 together

    How to insert a registered trademark symbol (®)

    For Windows PCs:

    1. Select where you’d like to insert the symbol
    2. Turn on Num Lock
    3. Press and hold the “Alt” key
    4. While holding, press 0, 1, 7, 4 in sequence
    5. Release “Alt”

    For Macs:

    1. Decide where you’d like your symbol to go
    2. Press “Option” (⌥) and R together

    How to insert a defendant or delta symbol (∆)

    For Windows PCs:

    1. Select where you’d like to insert the symbol
    2. Turn on Num Lock
    3. Press and hold the “Alt” key
    4. While holding, press 3, 0 in sequence
    5. Release “Alt”

    For Macs:

    1. Decide where you’d like your symbol to go
    2. Press “Option” (⌥) and J together

    How to insert a plaintiff or pi symbol (π)

    For Windows PCs:

    1. Select where you’d like to insert the symbol
    2. Turn on Num Lock
    3. Press and hold the “Alt” key
    4. While holding, press 2, 2, 7 in sequence
    5. Release “Alt”

    For Macs:

    1. Decide where you’d like your symbol to go
    2. Press “Option” (⌥) and P together

    How to Customize Your Own Legal Symbols Keyboard Shortcuts

    Sometimes, you might not find default keyboard shortcuts convenient for typing, or the default keybindings above might not apply to your PC or Mac.

    Thankfully, you can create your own legal symbol shortcuts.

    This helps you save even more time in the typing process by reducing four or five keystrokes to two or three. For example, you could change the copyright symbol shortcut to “Alt”+”C”.

    The process for this differs depending on your device and operating system, so here are some steps you need to remember.

    How to customize legal symbols in Microsoft Word

    1. Select “Insert” in the top menu, then “Symbol” and “More Symbols”.

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    1. In the next window, you’ll find a list of symbols and a tab at the top-right for “Special Characters”. If you can’t find the symbol you need in the main symbols window, click this Special Characters tab, and you open up a menu listing more legal characters.

    1. Check this list of shortcuts to ensure the specific key combination you want isn’t already in use. Then, choose the symbol you want and click “Shortcut Key”.
    2. A new menu then appears. Click in the box marked “Press new shortcut key”.

    1. Enter the new keyboard shortcut you’d like to use for this particular symbol (again, making sure it isn’t already in use). Then, click “Assign”.

    1. Close the menus and try your new keyboard shortcut.

    Using Microsoft AutoText

    Alternatively, you can use Word’s AutoText feature to insert legal symbols quickly. Here’s how:

    1. Highlight the symbol you want by clicking and dragging over it.
    2. From the “Insert” menu, choose “Quick Parts” from the right, and then hover over “AutoText” in the dropdown menu. In the side menu that pops up, choose “Save Selection to AutoText Gallery”.

    1. Create a name and description of your choice in the next window and click “OK”.

    1. Clear your document and head back to the AutoText menu. Your selected symbol now appears in the gallery list.

    1. Select it, and your symbol(s) will paste into the document. While not as efficient as using keyboard shortcuts, it’s a method that cuts back on hunting through menus.

    How to customize legal symbols using Text Replacement on Macs

    Text Replacement on Macs works similarly to a smartphone’s autocorrect function. So, we need to set up some custom text “triggers” for the symbols we’d like to insert. Here’s how to do that.

    1. Head to your Apple Menu and choose “System Settings”.

    1. In “System Settings”, choose the “Keyboard”, which you typically find when scrolling down the list of available tools.

    1. Choose “Text Replacement” in the menu to the right.

    1. In the next window, select “+” to add a new Text Replacement. Another window appears – enter your desired shortcut text in the “Replace” box and your chosen symbol in the “With” box. Then, click “Add”.

    1. You can now type your shortcut text and your Mac will replace it with your desired symbol.

    How to customize legal symbols on mobile devices – iOS

    Good news – Apple shares the Text Replacement settings between logged-in devices if you’re signed in on a Mac with the same Apple ID you’re using on your iPhone or iPad.

    However, if you don’t share an Apple ID between devices, here’s how to customize legal symbol shortcut text on iOS from scratch.

    1. Select your “Settings” app and scroll down to “General”.

    1. Select “Keyboard” from the next screen.

    1. Then, select “Text Replacement”.

    1. In the next screen, tap the “+” in the top-right corner to bring up a new screen.
    2. Paste or insert the symbol you want and type your shortcut.

    1. Tap “Save”. You can now use your new shortcut to recreate your chosen symbol whenever you type it on your iPhone apps.

    How to customize legal symbols on mobile devices – Android

    Setting up custom shortcuts and phrases to create legal symbols on Android devices may vary depending on the manufacturer of the smartphone or tablet you use.

    Therefore, for this step-by-step guide, we assume you’re using the Gboard app, a free default keyboard for Android devices. Here’s what you need to know.

    1. Head to the “Settings” app, then choose “General management”.

    1. Choose “Gboard settings” from the menu on the next screen.

    1. In the next menu, choose “Dictionary”.

    1. Then, tap “Personal dictionary”, and the language you’d like to create a shortcut in.

    1. In the next screen, tap the “+” symbol to add a word to this dictionary.
    2. Select “Type a word”, and paste the symbol you’d like to create a shortcut for.

    1. Tap “Shortcut”, and type in a phrase you’d like to use to create the special symbol in the future.

    1. Tap “Enter”, and your shortcut is ready to use.

    Other Android keyboard apps such as Swiftkey provide additional customization and features that might make shortcuts easier for you.

    Beyond Legal Symbols Keyboard Shortcuts: Two Other Options for Enhancing Efficiency

    While the above advice helps speed up access to type legal symbols, you might wish to create legal symbols across multiple apps and programs.

    For example, if you’re only editing your Microsoft Word symbol shortcuts, you can’t access these shortcuts outside of the program. Mac, iOS, and Android work a little differently.

    Therefore, consider using simple programs and virtual keyboards – while they are pay-to-use, think about the time and effort you could save across all your software programs.

    1. Software tools

    Shortcut software, such as PhraseExpress and TextExpander, lets you create customizations where you can replicate legal symbols and longer text sections in a handful of characters.

    These tools are useful if you don’t want to create a complete set of legal symbol shortcuts from scratch. However, consider how much time and effort it might take to bring an extra piece of software into your drafting process.

    If you want to install software tools to help type legal symbols, check for OS compatibility (e.g., Windows, MacOS, Linux) and whether or not they integrate with your chosen word processing suite(s).

    2. Legal-specific hardware options

    Some law firms use physical keyboards, such as LegalBoard, and cut out the need to use shortcuts.

    This hardware provides more than 35 legal symbols commonly used by law firms in the US.

    The brand offers several hardware options, though this will be a significant investment at each desk for a full law firm office. For some, it’s a quick, easy alternative to everyone needing to remember hotkeys and shortcuts, but your needs may vary.

    Use Legal Symbols Keyboard Shortcuts and Make Drafting a Breeze

    You spend more than enough time drafting legal paperwork. Inserting and pasting symbols every second sentence just adds extra hassle and workload.

    With legal symbols keyboard shortcuts, you can:

    • Spend more time actively working cases
    • Keep legal documents looking professional and presentable
    • Reduce errors


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    Now that you know how to save time with complex symbols, bookmark our guide to local SEO for law firms (and encourage more clients into your business).

    For future reading, we also recommend you brush up on the basics of Instagram for lawyers and how to get more reviews for your law firm.

    Insert Legal Symbols with Keyboard Shortcuts: FAQs

    Let’s break down a few final queries on legal shortcuts and how to use them.

    How do you make legal symbols on a keyboard?

    You can make legal symbols on a keyboard using a combination of the “Alt” key and numbers on a Windows PC, or the “Option” key and numbers on a Mac.

    For example, the registered trademark Alt key code for Windows is 0174.

    See our full table above for more details.

    What is the shortcut for legal symbols?

    There are different shortcuts for legal symbols depending on what you’d like to use and which operating system you’re running.

    Check out our complete guide above to find the right shortcut keys for any advanced symbol. You can also create your own shortcuts.

    How do I insert legal symbols in Word?

    Use the Insert tab and choose “Symbols” from the right-hand side of the toolbar. If you can’t see the symbols you need in the Insert tab, click “More Symbols”.

    Alternatively, use a keyboard shortcut from our selection. You can also create your own shortcuts.

    How do you type a section legal symbol?

    With Num Lock on, the section symbol shortcut on Windows is to hold “Alt” and press 0, 1, 6, and 7.

    If you’re wondering how to type a section symbol on Mac, hold “Option” and 6. Voila!

    To use the section symbol on iPhone, check out our text replacement guide above.

    What are the benefits of using keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols?

    Using keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols saves you time and effort compared to inserting them manually or copying and pasting them from other legal documents. That’s more time you can spend working with clients and building positive law firm reviews.