How to Insert Symbols into Google Docs and Slides

516202 How to Insert Symbols into Google Docs and Slides

Inserting symbols, emojis, and special characters into your Google Docs and Slides is easy and allows you to add visual flair or formatting to your documents. Whether you want to include copyright symbols, emoji, additional punctuation, mathematical symbols, or foreign characters, Google Docs has you covered.

Insert Symbols via the Special Characters Menu

The easiest way to insert a symbol is through the Special Characters menu:

  1. Open the Google Docs or Slides file where you want to insert symbols.
  2. Click Insert > Special characters. This will open the Special Characters picker.
  3. Use the dropdown menu on the left to browse symbol categories like arrows, currency symbols, emojis, and more.
  4. Click a symbol to insert it.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 to add additional symbols.

Tip: The Special Characters menu allows you to search for specific symbols. Just type a description in the search bar on the right.

Insert Emoji

To quickly insert emoji:

  1. Place your cursor where you want the emoji.
  2. Type @ followed by your emoji search term (e.g. @smile).
  3. Select the emoji from the dropdown results.

You can also:

  • Click Insert > Emoji from the top menu bar.
  • Open the Special Characters menu and change the left dropdown to Emoji.

Draw Your Own Symbols

If you can’t find the symbol you need, you can draw it:

  1. Open the Special Characters menu.
  2. Click inside the blank box on the right labeled “Draw a symbol here”.
  3. Draw the symbol using your mouse or trackpad.
  4. Choose the correct symbol from the suggestions on the left.

Insert Symbols via Text Shortcuts

Google Docs allows you to create custom text shortcuts that will automatically replace a typed shortcut code with predefined text. Leverage this to insert frequently used symbols more quickly:

  1. Click Tools > Preferences.
  2. Check the box next to Substitutions.
  3. In the Replace column, type a custom shortcut code (e.g. (c)).
  4. In the With column, insert the symbol you want to use (e.g. ©).
  5. Click OK.

Now whenever you type the shortcut code, it will automatically replace it with the symbol.

Insert Symbols on Mobile

The Special Characters menu is available on both mobile and desktop. However, you can also:

  • Use your mobile keyboard to insert emoji.
  • Draw symbols following the tips above.

This makes inserting symbols fast and easy, even when on your phone or tablet.

Tips for Using Symbols

When including symbols, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use symbols sparingly – Overusing fancy symbols and emoji can make your documents less professional or readable.
  • Be consistent – Pick one style for symbols and stick to it in a document (e.g. emoji vs icon vs text).
  • Consider accessibility – Some readers may have trouble deciphering emoji or unusual symbols. Describe them for clarity.
  • Check compatibility – Uncommon symbols might not render properly on all devices. Preview your document before sharing.

Common Types of Symbols

Here are some of the most popular types of symbols to insert:


  • Direction arrows (←, →, ↑, ↓)
  • Triangle/geometric shapes (▲, ◆, ●)


  • Copyright ©, Trademark TM, Registered ®
  • Ellipses … and dashes ‒, –, —, −
  • Math operators (÷, ±, √)
  • Accent marks (à, ö, ç)


  • Emoticons (😃 😢 🤔)
  • Hand gestures 👋 ✌️ 🙏
  • Celebrations 🎉 🎊 🍾


  • U.S. dollar $
  • British pound £
  • Euro €
  • Yen ¥


  • Operators (+, −, x, ÷)
  • Exponents (x2, x3)
  • Square root (√)
  • Pi (π)

Foreign Characters

  • Letters with accents (á, ñ, ü)
  • Non-English alphabets (А, 字, Ö)

So whether you’re looking to add a little flair or include technical symbols, inserting special characters into Google Docs and Slides is quick and easy on both desktop and mobile.

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