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Alt + number


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Hi All

I think you have all seen me going on about Alt+ number J

So I thought that I would explain it a little more verbose.

There are three methods – the what I call the dos method where Alt+1 gives ☺ and Alt +2 ☻ Alt+3 this goes on up until 31 Alt+32 gives (you can’t see it but it is a space)

What I call the dos mode works in the way that it translates Alt+1 into the unicode character Alt+9786 automatically - similary with the other "dos" numbers.

33 gives ! but here the Ansi/Ascii method which is the same numbers just with a 0 (zero) in front will give the same Alt+033 ! and in reality takes over. This then goes on until 255 Alt 0255 gives ÿ.

Ansi → American National Standard Institute

Ascii → American Standard Code for Information Interchange, 7 bit character code

Seven bit means 2^7 = 128 so that only goes to character 0128

Eight bit is then of course 0256

Sixteen bit 256² → 65536

Example: Alt+0223 gives ß which is the German double s. This can be written in Notepad and Excel.

Example: Alt+946 gives β which is the Greek sign for beta. This Unicode sign cannot be written in Notepad or Excel, but can in Word or WordPad. U+03B2 = βAfter 0256 Ā the Unicode system takes over Alt+256 gives Ā and then the Unicode numbers go up until - for the time being in normal set-ups – 65533 � which is called a replacement character

The last 2-3 characters have no character as yet in normal set-ups.

Number of numbers in the (normal) Unicode table is 2^16 = 65536

In Notepad and in Excel it is only possible to use either dos method or Ansi method

Unicode method doesn’t work there.

In Word or in Word Pad the Unicode numbers work too, and you have the opportunity to also use the hex numbers i.e. FFFD - � write the hex number (often shown as U+hex number) place the cursor behind it and press Alt+x on the keyboard,

This will create the character.

Hex stands for hexadecimal and means that the number system has a base 16 instead of our normal decimal system that has a base of 10. Easier to use if it has to fit into the 2 based system – the binary system (0 and1). (2^4 = 16) (10000 binary)

A lot of the Unicode signs can only be shown if one has the right font.

The largest font is Arial Unicode 22731 Kb

Then a couple of Chinese fonts - the largest I have is CERG 22073 Kb

Bitstream Cyberbit 13041 Kb

Code 2000 8181 Kb

Unicode Symbols that covers a lot of unusual characters that can’t be found anywhere else 1257 Kb



There are several exceptions and sometimes weird decisions.

% Alt+37 works everywhere and is also on the keyboard (often used)

‰ Alt+0137/8240 As you see the ansi number 0137 works too - also in Notepad where 8240 doesn’t work.

But 0137 really is a shortcut for the real Unicode sign 8240 / U+ 2030 (used not nearly as often)

‱ Alt+8241 This is only available in Unicode 8241 / U+ 2031 (seldom used)


I’ll end here for the time being J



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