As senior citizens (yikes, I’m included in that), most of us don’t wish to be computer geeks. However, we don’t want to seem as if we’re stuck in the dark ages, either. Especially to our grandkids! Bonding with grown children and grandchildren is important to us, yet we often live long distances from family (PsychologyToday.com), which makes it hard. Email is one way to help with bonding, yet many of us didn’t grow up with electronic expertise. And that’s where this computer tutorial for seniors — giving instruction on how to liven basic text — comes in handy.
Fun symbols can be included in a basic text email by using the Alt key. The Alt key is “… held down while pressing another key, as to perform a specific operation or type a special character” (Dictionary.com).
The definition sounds complicated, but the process isn’t, and there are a plethora of Alt codes for a PC with Windows.
Where is the Alt Key?
- The Alt key usually sits toward the left side of the space bar on the keyboard, and is marked, “ALT.”
- When the Alt key is coupled with numbers, it creates fun and interesting symbols.
How to Use the Alt Key
- Be sure the number lock key is turned ON, (can usually be found on the right side of keyboard, near the number pad).
- Make certain to use the number pad on the right of the keyboard when combining the Alt key with numbers.
- Press the Alt key first and hold it down while hitting the required number(s) key to give you the symbol wanted.
- Release both keys.
How to Make Alt Key Symbols
(Note: These instructions are for a PC with Windows — a Mac has a slightly different method. Also, don’t hit the + that’s shown in the instructions, below — only hit the Alt key and the number key at the same time.)
☺ (Open smiley face) Alt+1
☻ (Filled smiley face) Alt+2
♥ (Heart) Alt+3
♦ (Diamond) Alt+4
♣ (Clubs or a Clover) Alt+5
♠ (Spade) Alt+6
• (Round bullet or a filled circle) Alt+7
○ (Open circle) Alt+9
♂ (Male symbol) Alt+11
♀ (Female symbol) Alt+12
¢ (Cent) Alt+0162
£ (British Pound) Alt+0163
€ (Euro currency) Alt+0128
° (Degree) Alt+0176
© (Copyright) Alt+0169
é (“e” with accent mark) Alt+0233
There are many more symbols made with the alt and number keys, including technical or scientific ones. (See Penn State University’s webpage, “Windows Alt Key Codes” for a more extensive list.) However, for those who are using a PC with Windows and just want to have a little fun — and seem computer savvy — this list is great for starters. Give it a try and see if the Alt codes given above don’t impress those grandkids!
Embedded links listed above.
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