Crash of the symbols

FI-Log-On-With-Larry-SchneiderDear Larry,

I frequently have to include the Euro symbol in the Word documents I type. I do this by clicking Insert, Symbol in the menu bar, but this seems awfully slow. I sure hope you have a better way.

R. M.


Dear R. M.,

One easy way to accomplish this is to capitalize on Word’s AutoCorrect feature. I’ll demonstrate how you can use this to create a Euro symbol as you type. (For those who don’t dabble in European currency, the Euro symbol (€) looks like a capital C with an equal sign through it, thus creating a stylized E.)

Start by creating a blank document in Word. In the Word menu bar, click Insert, Symbol. Then scroll through the selection until you locate the Euro symbol. You can set the Font box to “(normal text)” and the Subset box to “Currency Symbols” to make it easier to find. Once you stumble upon the Euro symbol, click it.

At the bottom of the Insert Symbol window, note that Word’s shortcut key for the Euro symbol is Alt+Ctrl+E (hold down the Alt and Ctrl keys while you tap the E key). You might prefer this method for generating a Euro symbol, but let’s ignore this for the time being.

With the Euro symbol highlighted, click Insert, then click Close. Notice the appearance of the Euro symbol in your document now. With the blinking cursor immediately to its right, hold down the Shift key and tap the Left Arrow key to highlight the Euro symbol. (Alternatively, use your mouse to click and drag over it.) With the Euro symbol highlighted, press Ctrl+C on your keyboard (hold down the Ctrl key and tap the C key).

Although it doesn’t look like anything happened, something did. Word copied the Euro symbol into memory.

I can hear you muttering: “This is easier!?” Trust me… it’s time for the pièce de résistance.

In the Word menu bar, click Tools, AutoCorrect Options (or in Word 2007 and beyond, File, Options, Proofing, AutoCorrect Options), then be certain the AutoCorrect tab is selected. See the Replace box in the middle of the window? Click inside it and type “c=” (without the quotes). Next, click inside the With box to the right, then press Ctrl+V to paste the Euro symbol that we copied earlier.

If you performed the copy step correctly, a Euro symbol should appear inside the With box. Click OK to finish.

So what have we done? We’ve told Word that if at any time it sees we’ve typed the characters c= in any document, it should immediately replace them with the Euro symbol.

What if you really wanted to type c= in your document? As soon as you see the Euro symbol appear, press Backspace and this will cause the Euro to revert back to the actual characters you typed.

You can use this technique to create any symbols you commonly use. Have Word replace “l=” with the Pound (£), “c/” with the Cent (¢), “?=” with the (¿), etc.

Now pardon me while I type (c) and remind you that this column is ©.

This is Larry Schneider, logging off.


Larry Schneider is the owner of Accent on Computers, a Greenwich-based consulting firm-now in its 15th year of business-catering to individuals, businesses and professional offices. PC and Mac services include computer setup, training, troubleshooting, virus resolution, networking, Internet, database and programming. Call 203-625-7575, visit, or send e-mail to [email protected]

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