The x-bar symbol (x̅) is commonly used in statistics and math to represent the sample mean. While typing regular letters and numbers is straightforward in Word, inserting special symbols like the x-bar can be more complicated. This article will show you several methods to type the x-bar symbol on both Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft Word.
What the X-Bar Symbol Represents
The x-bar symbol, which looks like an x with a horizontal bar over it, represents the sample mean or average. Some key things to know about x-bar:
- Stands for “sample mean”
- Used to represent the average value in a sample of data
- Sample refers to a subset of a larger population
- Finding x-bar involves summing all values and dividing by the sample size
So in statistics, the x-bar symbol provides a shorthand way to denote the average of a sample.
Typing X-Bar on Windows
There are a couple of easy ways to insert an x-bar in Word on Windows:
Use the Numeric Keypad
- Open your Word document and type the letter “x” where you want the symbol to appear
- Hold down the Alt key
- While still holding Alt, type 0772 using your numeric keypad
- Release Alt and the x-bar will appear
- Type the letter “x”
- Go to Insert > Symbol > More Symbols
- In the Symbol window, select the “Arial Unicode MS” font
- Scroll down and select the X bar symbol, then click Insert
Typing X-Bar on Mac
To add an x-bar in Word for Mac:
Use Keyboard Shortcut
- Type the letter “x”
- Go to Edit > Emoji & Symbols
- In the menu, select the “x” with overbar symbol
- Click Insert to add it to your document
Use Character Viewer
- Type “x” where you want the symbol
- Go to Edit > Emoji & Symbols > Show Character Viewer
- Search for “combining overline”
- Select the overline and it will appear over the x
Saving the X-Bar Symbol
If you need to reuse the x-bar symbol frequently:
- Windows: Add it to AutoCorrect by selecting the x-bar and going to File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options. This will allow you to type a shortcut that will automatically change to the symbol.
- Mac: Drag the x-bar to the Symbols tab to save it for later use. Then you can easily access it from the Emoji & Symbols menu.
Using the Microsoft Equation Editor
Another option is to insert the x-bar from the Microsoft Equation Editor:
- Click Insert > Equation
- In the Equation Tools menu, select Accent > Overbar
- Click in the box under the overbar and type “x”
- The x-bar symbol will appear in the document
The equation editor approach gives you more flexibility with formatting math expressions.
X-Bar Symbol Uses
Now that you know how to type it, when might you use the x-bar symbol? Here are some examples:
- Denoting the average test score for a sample of students
- Indicating the mean weight from a sample of produce
- Representing the average monthly spending of survey respondents
- Summarizing the typical lifespan from a medical study group
In research and statistical analyses, using an x-bar provides a shorthand way to communicate sample averages.
While the x-bar symbol may not be on your keyboard, it’s easy to type or insert in Word using the methods above. On Windows, use the numeric keypad or Insert Symbol menu. For Mac, use the keyboard shortcut or Character Viewer. You can also add it to AutoCorrect or the Symbols tab to reuse later. So whenever you need to denote sample means in a paper, report, or other Word document, turn to the x-bar.