How to Insert Symbols in Google Sheets (2 Easy Ways + Video)

A special character is a non-alphanumeric character. Punctuation marks, accent marks, or symbols are considered special characters. The addition of symbols and special characters in a Google Sheet is simple, as there is a separate option for adding symbols, punctuations, emojis, etc. Now there isn’t a direct way to add Symbols and special characters to your Google Sheets, but don’t worry we’ve got you covered!

In this article, we’ll show you how to insert symbols in Google Sheets as we detail the two different methods you can use.

How to Add a Symbol in Google Sheets by Using Docs

Let’s dive right into learning how to insert a symbol in Google Sheets. One of the easiest ways to do it is using Google Docs.

If you want to insert certain symbols and special characters into your Google Sheets, you simply need to copy these symbols from Google docs and paste them into your Google Sheets.

Follow the proceeding steps to add Google Sheets symbols.

STEP 1: The first step is to open a blank Google document on your device.

Open up a blank Google Docs file

STEP 2: From the Insert menu, choose Special characters to navigate the Google Sheets special characters

Open the Special characters menu

A menu like this should appear on your screen.

How to Insert Symbols in Google Sheets using Docs

NOTE: With the help of this menu, you can select from a number of different symbols and characters that you can insert into your document.

STEP 3: From the Left drop-down list, you can choose a category.

A list of categories will now appear on the screen.

Choose what type of special character you wish to add

STEP 4: A list of category types is displayed on the right.

For example, if you select Symbol from the left-hand category, the right side will show a corresponding list.

An example of arrow special characters

The selected category in the example above was Symbol and the selected type was Arrows.

STEP 5: Click on the symbol that you want to insert in your sheets.

For example:

Selecting a special character

STEP 6: Now close the character box by clicking on X from the upper right corner.

STEP 7: Highlight the symbol with your mouse and press CTRL+ C.

STEP 8: Now go to your Google Sheets and select the cell where you want to insert the symbol and press CTRL+V. Your desired symbol is now added to your Google Sheets.

A Special character inside a Google Sheet

NOTE: emojis can be inserted in the same way by selecting the emoji category from Google docs and copy-pasting the desired emoticons in Google Sheets. 😀

Adding Emojis

Google Sheets view

Emojis inside a Google Sheet

Google Sheet Insert Symbol Method 2: Using Alt Codes

Another way to add symbols in Google Sheets is to use the ALT+KEY function. You will have to hold the Alt key and press a number or letter to display the alt code for the key. For example, if you press ALT + 3, it will display a heart.

The secret to adding icons in Google Sheets via Alt codes is that you need to be in edit mode. Here let us show you!

  1. Click on the cell you want to insert the symbol.
  2. Press F2, and now you have entered the edit mode.
  3. Now press ALT + any key to insert a symbol.

NOTE: you should know the appropriate number for your desired symbol. Some of the keys with their designated Alt codes are:

Alt code Symbol Description
ALT + 2 Smiley
ALT + 3 Heart
ALT + 4 Diamond
ALT + 5 Club
ALT + 6 Spades
ALT + 7 Ball
ALT + 8 Bullet
ALT + 9 Bullet
ALT + 1 + 6 Start
ALT + 1 + 7 Back
ALT + 1 + 8 Double arrow (up/down)
ALT + 1 + 9 Double exclamation mark
ALT + 2 + 4 Down arrow
ALT+2+5 Arrow up
ALT + 2 + 6 Arrow right
ALT + 2 + 7 Left arrow
ALT + 2 + 9 Double arrow (left/right)
ALT + 3 + 0 Triangle

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Insert Icons in Google Sheets?

Icons cannot be inserted directly in Google Sheets as there isn’t an option for adding Google Sheets special characters. You can insert them by using the Google docs “insert special character” option. You also can insert Google Sheet symbols from different categories by using Alt codes. You simply have to memorize what numeric key is used for your desired symbol or character.

How Do I Insert a Symbol in Every Cell in Google Sheets?

To insert a symbol in Google Sheets, simply go to your Google docs and open the dialog box to insert your desired symbols. Now select your desired symbol and copy and paste it into your selected cell in Google Sheets, then simply click and drag the fill handle cell to the cell you want your desired symbol to be.

How to Automatically Add Symbols in Google Sheets?

You cannot automatically add symbols in Google Sheets. Google Sheets does not have a separate option for inserting symbols, just like Excel worksheets. You will have to copy and paste symbols and special characters from Google docs into your Google Sheets, or you use an Alt code for a certain symbol. In the article above, we have detailed everything you need to know on how to insert symbols in Google Sheets

Learning More About How to Insert Symbols in Google Sheets:

Now that you know the basics of how to insert symbols in Google Sheets, check out our other articles detailing how to insert specific symbols in Google Sheets:

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Talha Faisal

Talha Faisal

Talha is a seasoned technical writer that specializes in Automation and SaaS. Google Sheets is central to his work, and he uses his writing to make Google Sheets easy to use for everyone.