Zyra's website //// Keyboard Shortcuts //// Truths; less well known //// Computers //// Site Index

Keyboard Codes
How to get unusual symbols, accents, and special characters, on your computer keyboard:


As well as the obvious keys on a computer keyboard there are also some hidden codes which you can get. This page helps to show you how. As well as shortcut keys which have various functions there are also a variety of useful symbols and foreign characters. These symbols are available for you to be able to type in on your keyboard just by knowing a few special keys and key combinations. For example, you can type the name of the band Motorhead with the two dots over the o (umlaut), like this: Motrhead. You can write about sending in a resum or acting a rle, etc. Zo may be pleased to hear from you. Your knowledge may seem like that in an encyclopdia. Mention in passing 3 inch discs and 5 inch discs, and measurements of things in ngstroms. This can be useful, or impressive, or just a way of showing off in the same sort of way knowing a smattering of international language fragments may give you a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi / Croeso y Cymru / Ich bin ein Berliner (Jam Doughnut). You have to be careful where you say "Viva Espaa!" as this might not be considered well in Barcelona.

So, anyway, how's it done? How do you type in Silver Lam Motrhead 2 pints of Nescaf ? It's all to do with the Alt key (to the left of the space bar) and the numbers on the numeric key pad.

Key codes each have a number between 0 and 255. They're a computerish thing a bit like A=1 B=2 ... Z=26 etc, except that on the computer it's a variant of the code known as ASCII where A is number 65, Z is number 90, question mark is 63, and many other such examples. I've included a list below in case you're interested. But this list includes more than the standard alphanumerics and basic symbols, but also has special codes for a variety of different language symbols.

To get a key code to come up, here's what you do:

1. Hold down the ALT key.

2. While holding down the ALT key, type in the number of the code on the numeric keypad. This can be any number from 0 to 255.

3. Let go of the ALT key.

And there it is - a special key code character as if you'd typed it in. People who are not into this kind of conjuring will spend five minutes looking for a symbol on your keyboard until you show them how to do it or mention the page www.zyra.org.uk/kcodes.htm

Let's run through an example: To type "Motrhead", it's done by typing Mot [hold down ALT] 148 [release ALT] rhead. See, easy! Incidentally, it's not so easy to type "Spinal Tap" with the umlaut over the N because umlauts aren't really supposed to go over N, a jest possibly along the same lines of confusion of single quote (') and double quote ("). The numbers of the codes have to be typed on the numeric keypad. On a laptop this usually requires a special "fn" key to be pressed.

Being able to type characters with accents over them gives extra meaning and sound to the words. "Bjrk" is pronounced "B'yeurk" rather than "bYork" as the ie a kind of "eu" sound. "Espaa" is of course pronounced more like "ehSpanya" than "Eee Spanner". If you'd like to know more about this kind of thing, you may be interested to know that Linguaphone courses are available.

Now here is the list of key codes from 0 to 255. The list may be imperfect, and there are extra notes at the end to try to be helpful. The "visible" characters start at 32 which is the SPACE, go trough the symbols, numbers, upper case letter, lower case letters, and then at 128 the peculiar characters start. If you are baffled by all this, try a few in the range of 48 to 123 first and see how they work, and then look up and remember a few strange characters of your choice.

THE LIST BEGINS...

0 ! NULL

1 !

2 !

3 ^C - CTRL-C

4 !

5 !

6 !

7 Bell!

8 Backspace

9 Tab

10 Line Feed

11 ^K (up (on some machines))

12 Clear Screen / Form Feed

13 Carriage Return

14 !

15 !

16 !

17 !

18 !

19 !

20 !

21 !

22 !

23 !

24 !

25 !

26 !

27 Escape

28 !

29 !

30 !

31 !

32   (space)

33 ! - exclamation mark - sometimes known as PLING!

34 " (quote)

35 # (hash)

36 $

37 % (percent)

38 & (ampersand)

39 ' (single quote)

40 (

41 )

42 * (star / multiply)

43 + (plus)

44 , (comma)

45 - (dash / hyphen / minus)

46 . (dot / full stop))

47 / (slash, or stroke, but try to avoid saying forward slash)

48 Number 0 (zero)

49 Number 1

50 Number 2

51 Number 3

52 Number 4

53 Number 5

54 Number 6

55 Number 7

56 Number 8

57 Number 9

58 : (colon)

59 ; (semicolon)

60 < (less than)

61 = (equals)

62 > (greater than) - also see More Than >

63 ? (question mark)

64 @ (at)

65 A

66 B

67 C

68 D

69 E

70 F

71 G

72 H

73 I

74 J

75 K

76 L

77 M

78 N

79 O

80 P

81 Q

82 R

83 S

84 T

85 U

86 V

87 W

88 X

89 Y

90 Z

91 [ (open square bracket)

92 \ (backslash)

93 ] (close square bracket)

94 ^ (up/control/power)

95 _ (underscore)

96 `

97 a

98 b

99 c

100 d

101 e

102 f

103 g

104 h

105 i

106 j

107 k

108 l

109 m

110 n

111 o

112 p

113 q

114 r

115 s

116 t

117 u

118 v

119 w

120 x

121 y

122 z

123 { (open curly bracket)

124 | (split vertical)

125 } (close curly bracket)

126 ~ (tilde - pronounced tilda - though sometimes called "squiggly")

127 delete

128 €

129 

130 ‚ accent e

131 ƒ

132 „

133 …

134 †

135 ‡

136 ˆ

137 ‰

138 Š

139 ‹

140 Œ

141 

142 Ž

143 

144 

145 ‘

146 ’

147 “

148 ”

149 •

150 –

151 —

152 ˜

153 ™

154 š

155 ›

156 œ

157 

158 P ž

159 ƒ Ÿ

160  

161

162

163

164

165

166

167

168

169 _

170

171

172

173

174

175

176 _

177 _

178 _

179

180

181

182

183 +

184 +

185

186

187 +

188 + quarter

189 + half

190 + three-quarters

191 +

192 +

193 -

194 -

195 +

196 -

197 +

198

199

200 +

201 +

202 -

203 -

204

205 -

206 +

207 -

208 -

209 -

210 -

211 +

212 +

213 +

214 +

215 +

216 +

217 +

218 +

219 _

220 _

221

222 _

223 _

224 _

225

226 _

227

228 _

229 _

230

231 _

232 _

233 _

234 _

235 _

236 _

237 _

238 _

239 _

240 _

241

242 _

243 _

244 _

245 _

246

247 _

248

249 •

250

251 _

252 n

253

254 _

255 _

OK. That's it. The list of ASCIIish symbols. If it works for you with the ALT key as detailed in one of the earlier paragraphs in this page, that's great. Or, if not, here are a few questions and answers which give a bit more detail and solve some possible problems to do with this:

* Firstly, keyboards and computers are different to each other, and you may find it doesn't quite work the same on your machine.

* If you are an ASCII purist, please remember that this page was made by typing in the numbers and seeing what appeared. An alternative can be seen at the page of ASCII Codes which may work entirely differently as the list was created using a computer program to generate the codes.

* Why do the numbers only go up to 255? Because a byte has 8 bits and that makes only 256 combinations. So, the ASCII alphabet has 256 items in it. If you type numbers bigger than that it will round it down by subtracting 256 until it results in something less than 256. So, for example 666, yes, we know, it comes up with (actual character number 154), has not much relevancy and is only really any good so Ghostbusters enthusiasts can type ZL! Please don't use ASCII codes to play at 666, because Hebrew Numerology doesn't work like that!

* What about the second symbols listed? To get the the first symbol, do [hold down ALT] (then the number) [let go of ALT]. To get the second symbol, [hold down ALT] (then 0 followed by the number) [let go of ALT]. This makes it possible to type by doing [ALT] 0190 [no ALT]. Thanks to our friends at Lekkerbly Guest House in South Africa for informing us of the 0190 = three quarters symbol!

* What about symbols such as the Euro symbol, the Trademark ™ symbol, Copyright , etc? These can be created in HTML using source code such as &euro; , &trade; , and &copy; etc. This is entirely different again.

* How can web pages have languages on them such as Russian (Cyrillic), Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, etc? It's a bigger story than just having 256 codes, as these languages have in total a great many more letters. To achieve this there is Unicode, UTF-8, and a system by which the top 128 codes are replaced by an alternative alphabet. So, for example, on the page of Russian Link Exchange, I've included "Greetings!" in Russian by changing the charset line in the HTML source code.

* other ASCII codes can be found at the ASCII page. I don't know why character 160 mysteriously disappears! Also, why is [ALT] 0190 [NO ALT] different from [ALT] 190 [NO ALT] ? Still a mystery.

* In early character sets when computers were based on logic, characters were deliberately designed to be distinct. That's why Zero (0) had a line through it to make it look different from the letter O. In some later character sets, 0 and O look similar, and there is also an unfortunate tendency for the letter l (lower case of L) to look almost indistinguishable from the numeric 1 and/or I (upper case i). These are different even if they look the same.

* Stuff on web pages looks different on different computers. So, don't be surprised if this page looks odd on your machine!

I hope you find this page useful. Have fun!

Other helpful advice, truths not generally known, misconceptions, and other interesting stuff can be found by exploring this interesting site which has thousands of pages, so it's best to stick it in the favourites. Keyboard shortcuts are only a very small part of the ongoing extraordinariness that is Zyra's website. See full site index to see the whole lot in alphabetic order.


This page, like others at the Zyra site, is safe to link to, as it has a safe deep linking policy