What are useful alt-key shortcuts for symbols for Electronics.SE?


4 Answers 4


Note that your answer only works on Windows. Also, if it doesn't work for some reason, there's no way to view the source. It's much better (IMO) to use the HTML entities (ISO-8859-1). They're the same on every platform and browser, they're easy to remember and to use, and they don't introduce any ambiguity with character encodings into whatever storage system StackExchange uses.

Visit w3schools (or any resource for HTML), specifically the ISO-8859-1 reference, follow the link to the math, greek, and other reference.

The characters you pointed out are:

  • μ - μ
  • τ - &tau
  • Ω - Ω
  • ° - °
  • β - β

Note that capitalization is important.

There are many others. An important note is that the less than and greater than symbols won't work in code at times - they're HTML reserved entities. If you have problems, use:

  • < - &lt;
  • > - &gt;

By the way, feel free to accept your own answer if you feel/it gets voted a better answer.

Link to source of this answer - Follow this link, Click "View Source"

  • \$\begingroup\$ HTML character codes don't seem to work in titles or comments, so short of copy-paste from some other source, I don't know how to enter them without using Alt-numpad. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick T
    Nov 4, 2010 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hm. Bug report? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2010 at 0:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like a great bug report to drop over on meta.stackoverflow.com \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Nov 8, 2010 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ My solution works in comments: μ τ Ω ° β 3 µV/√Hz±10° :) (Or rather ☺) \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Apr 27, 2011 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you mean that &Omega; don't work in comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Johan
    Jun 1, 2011 at 7:00

I just search for "ohm symbol" or "micro symbol" and copy and paste from the google search results :D

In word processors, I use autocomplete to convert "kohm" to "kΩ", etc.

Even better: Now that I've switched to Windows 7, I use AutoHotkey as a universal AutoCorrect and shortcut solution, using Hotstrings like this:


So when I type Mohm it is automatically replaced by "MΩ". I can easily type "nV/√Hz", "Δ = 100°C", "47 µF±10%", "50 km²", "τ = 2π", etc without pressing Alt or memorizing code point numbers. This works in almost any text field, not just a particular app. See my script here.

(And, in general, please use Unicode when writing special characters. Don't use different fonts. It's extremely annoying to go to a manufacturer's website and see resistors written as "10 kW", for instance, because they used the Windows Symbol font and it's not displaying correctly.)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Man, that would be one hefty resistor! Anyway, +1 'cause I too just copy-paste. I use a tiddly wiki as my "third hemisphere" and have several cheat sheets in it, including Greeks and other fancy characters. \$\endgroup\$
    – DarenW
    Nov 4, 2010 at 4:11

(Yes, I asked a question just to answer it, oh well.)

  • Alt-230: µ : Lowercase Greek mu (micro)
  • Alt-231: τ : Lowercase Greek tau (time constant)
  • Alt-234: Ω : Uppercase Greek omega (ohms)
  • Alt-248: ° : Degree symbol
  • Alt-225: ß : Lowercase Greek beta (transistor gain)
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean lowercase/uppercase "Greek"? Also, the first letter of any language should be capitalized. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 3, 2010 at 22:45
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The last one "ß" is NOT Greek beta. It's German scharfes S! \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Jan 14, 2011 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andreja: That's strange: usefulshortcuts.com/alt-codes/greek-alt-codes.php A bug in Windows? ß is not β. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Apr 27, 2011 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith The Alt codes in general should be avoided since they depend on regional settings of the user. For example I get р when using the alt code for beta. It could be that Nick just had some bad luck. \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Apr 30, 2011 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andre: That page lists alpha, beta, and gamma as 224, 225, 226, but it's not actually beta. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Apr 30, 2011 at 15:05

Maybe the most common "code" that works on this site should become a button above the text windows so it is easy and fast to find just like the "Bold" and "Italic". I guess that the SO Math site has the same problem with strange chars.


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