The Cent Symbol

Have you ever found yourself staring angrily at your computer keyboard while looking for a way to type a cent symbol (¢) into a spreadsheet or other document? You would think that entering such a common U.S. currency symbol would be easy, right? Unfortunately, performing this basic action is not nearly as intuitive as typing a dollar sign or percent symbol. This article will help you finally start making “cents” of it all.

STEP 1 – Are you a Apple Macintosh computer user? If so, be thankful. You won’t have to read this entire article. To enter a cent symbol on your Mac, just hold down the “⌥” (option or alt) key and the number “4” at the same time. Voila! You now have a cent symbol. If you want to learn about the frustrations your Windows friends must endure, continue on.

STEP 2 – Are you a Microsoft Windows user? If so, you unfortunately need to do a little more work to get the job done. To get started, turn on the Num Lock function of your keyboard. Most keyboards have an indicator light to show whether this function is on (lit) or off (unlit). Next, hold down the ALT key (located on either side of the space bar) and now, while still holding down the ALT key, type in the number sequence 0162 using the numerical keypad found on the right side your computer keyboard. This numeric sequence is known as the “Alt Key Numeric Code”. If you performed these steps properly, a cents symbol should appear!

For a list of how to enter other symbols using their own Windows “Alt Key Code”, see web link below.

STEP 3 – The step above is obviously not very intuitive or memorable. As a result, some folks find it easier just to type the cent symbol once in a blank text file or Microsoft Word document, save it, and then cut and paste from this document every time the cents symbol (or any other less common character) is required. You can also make use of the Windows Character Map tool on your computer. You should be able to find it in Accessories.


STEP 4 - One very clever and handy web site on the internet that takes many of these headaches away for Mac and PC users alike is “CopyPasteCharacter.com”. The innovative developers of this site made it so that you can quickly find, click and paste obscure symbols and characters with accents into your Word (or other) documents quickly and easily. The link to this site can be found below.

Did You Know?

  • Macintosh users have access to their own virtual keyboard too? Just go to the “International” section of “System Preferences”, click the “Input Menu” tab and check “Keyboard Viewer”. You will also want to check “Show input menu in menu bar” in order to give you easy access to this screen keyboard from the Apple menu bar.
  • If you have a laptop computer that doesn’t have a separate right-side numeric keypad, this may help you: Try holding down the “Function” key (“Fn”) while typing the “Num Lock” key. This should activate the laptop numeric keypad and allow you to use the virtual numeric keypad (usually found around the letters U, I, O & P) and enter the Alt Key numeric code. You may also need to perform the same keystrokes to turn it off.

Related Links & Resources
CopyPasteCharacter.com – Very helpful site!
Windows – Alt Key Numeric Codes
The Demise of the $.01 Sign
Mac – The Vanishing Numeric Keypad by David Pogue
Why do I have to hold down the Function key to get normal letter?

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5 comments

  1. LKHK 09/28/2014 at 5:04 pm

    Reply

    I found this link from google but coincidentally, we are a homeschool family in CA, too! :-)

  2. LKHK 09/28/2014 at 5:03 pm

    Reply

    TNX! Macs are better at some things than a PC! Don’t know why I didn’t look this up sooner.

  3. Lotta 07/26/2011 at 6:47 pm

    Reply

    Your article perfectly shows what I needed to know, thanks!

  4. Breanne 06/29/2011 at 11:49 am

    Reply

    Amazing info! I have already been searching for something similar to this for quite a while now. Thx!

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