You can insert special characters in your documents and presentations without having to remember all those Alt-codes by using Google Docs and Slides easy-to-use character insertion tool. It offers a myriad of symbols, characters, symbols, languages, and more. Here’s how you can insert special characters into your documents.

Note: You can’t insert characters directly into Google Sheets, but you can copy and paste them into a cell on the spreadsheet.

How to Insert Special Characters into Google Docs and Slides

Inserting symbols into your file is a straightforward process that you can perform in several ways. Whether you want some silly emojis, arrows, or a different language’s scripts you can achieve this by manually selecting a category, typing in the search bar, or by drawing what you’re looking for.

The first thing you’ll need to do is open up a new  Google Docs or Slides file to get started.

Alternatively, if you’re using the latest version of Chrome, you can type “docs.new” or “slides.new” into a new tab’s address bar.

In your document, open the “Insert” menu and then click the “Special Characters” command.

Manually Search for Symbols

If you don’t have a particular character in mind (or you’re not sure how to search for what you do have in mind), you can use the drop-down menus to browse through the plethora of available symbols.

Click the second drop-down menu to choose a category. You can choose from symbols, punctuation, emojis, different language’s scripts, and even different whitespace characters. There are a lot, so be prepared to spend some time browsing.

Next, click on the other drop-down menu to refine the characters even further.

Once you’ve chosen the categories, all you need to do is click the character you want to insert it into your file.

Use the Search Bar

If you know what you’re looking for you can use the search bar located to the right of the pop-up window. You can search by keyword, description, or by Unicode value–if you know it.

Using the search bar can prove a bit troublesome as searching for an emoji with a smile didn’t produce the intended results. This is because it uses the word to match the description of the character.

If you search “Smiling” instead, you get more results.

Still, searching for a symbol is usually faster than browsing all the menus to find one manually.

Draw a Your Character to Search

Finally, if both your attempts to find the correct character or symbol have turned up dry, you can try the draw feature that lets you sketch whatever you want.

Start drawing/writing in the box to the right of the window, and similar characters will appear in the pane to the left. You don’t have to draw it all in one stroke, and you can keep adding to your drawing if it requires multiple gestures.

Once you’re done, click the arrow in the bottom right corner to reset the box and start drawing the next one.

If you regularly use any these characters, you’ll find them first drop-down menu under “Recent Characters.”

Brady Gavin Brady Gavin
Brady Gavin has been immersed in technology for 15 years and has written over 150 detailed tutorials and explainers. He's covered everything from Windows 10 registry hacks to Chrome browser tips. Brady has a diploma in Computer Science from Camosun College in Victoria, BC.  
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