Insert Symbols in Google Sheets: Easy Methods (2024)

Jason Gong
June 6, 2024

Use the CHAR function to insert symbols in Google Sheets.

By the way, we're Bardeen, we build a free AI Agent for doing repetitive tasks.

If you use symbols a lot, check out our GPT in Spreadsheets. It can help automate inserting symbols and other tasks, saving you time.

Symbols are essential for adding clarity and visual appeal to your Google Sheets data. While Google Sheets doesn't have a dedicated symbol menu like Microsoft Excel, there are several easy methods to insert symbols. In this guide, we'll show you how to use the CHAR function, copy symbols from external sources, and utilize add-ons to enhance your spreadsheets with symbols.

Introduction to Symbols in Google Sheets

Symbols play a crucial role in enhancing data clarity and visual representation in spreadsheets. They help to convey information more effectively and make your data stand out. While Google Sheets doesn't offer a direct menu for inserting symbols like Microsoft Excel, there are several workarounds to add these useful elements to your sheets.

Here are a few reasons why symbols are important in Google Sheets:

  • They can be used to highlight specific data points or trends
  • Symbols can replace lengthy text descriptions, making your sheet more concise
  • They add visual interest and make your data more engaging

In the following sections, we'll explore various methods to insert symbols in Google Sheets, including using the CHAR function, copying from external sources, and leveraging add-ons. By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to bring AI into your spreadsheet and enhance your Google Sheets with symbols effortlessly.

Using the CHAR Function to Insert Symbols

The CHAR function in Google Sheets is a powerful tool for inserting specific symbols into your spreadsheet. It converts a number into a special character according to the current Unicode table. Here's how to use it:

  1. Find the Unicode number of the symbol you want to insert. You can use online resources like Graphemica or Wikipedia's Unicode character list.
  2. In your Google Sheet, type =CHAR() into a cell.
  3. Inside the parentheses, enter the Unicode number of your desired symbol.
  4. Press Enter, and the symbol will appear in the cell.

For example, to insert a smiley face emoji, you would use =CHAR(128578)Some other commonly used symbols include:

  • Copyright symbol (©): =CHAR(169)
  • Registered trademark symbol (®): =CHAR(174)
  • Degree symbol (°): =CHAR(176)
  • Em dash (—): =CHAR(8212)

Keep in mind that not all Unicode characters will display properly on all devices. Special fonts or languages may need to be installed for certain symbols to appear correctly. If you are working on data from LinkedIn, you can enrich LinkedIn profiles in Google Sheets to automate the process.

Save time and reduce manual work with our automation tools for Google Sheets and LinkedIn. Focus on important tasks while Bardeen handles data updates for you.

Copying Symbols from External Sources

Another easy way to insert symbols into your Google Sheets is by copying them from external sources like web pages or documents. Here's how:

  1. Find the symbol you want to use on a website or in another document.
  2. Select the symbol and copy it using Ctrl+C (Windows) or Cmd+C (Mac).
  3. Go to your Google Sheet and click on the cell where you want to insert the symbol.
  4. Paste the symbol using Ctrl+V (Windows) or Cmd+V (Mac).

Most symbols copied from external sources will be compatible with Google Sheets. However, keep in mind that some symbols may not display correctly if they are not supported by the default font in Google Sheets. In such cases, you may need to change the font of the cell to ensure the symbol appears as intended.

Additionally, be aware that copying and pasting symbols from external sources may sometimes bring along unwanted formatting, such as different font sizes or colors. To avoid this, you can use the "Paste values only" option by right-clicking on the cell and selecting "Paste special" > "Paste values only". For more advanced automation, you can scrape data from websites efficiently.

Utilizing Third-Party Apps and Add-ons

If you find yourself frequently needing to insert special characters and symbols into your Google Sheets, consider using a third-party app or add-on to streamline the process. These tools can save you time and effort by providing a user-friendly interface for quickly finding and inserting the symbols you need.

One popular add-on is "Insert Special Characters" by Sheets Help. This add-on allows you to easily insert symbols, emojis, and other special characters into your spreadsheet with just a few clicks. Here's how to install and use it:

  1. Open your Google Sheet and click on "Add-ons" in the menu bar.
  2. Select "Get add-ons" from the dropdown menu.
  3. Search for "Insert Special Characters" in the Google Workspace Marketplace and click on the add-on.
  4. Click "Install" and grant the necessary permissions.
  5. Once installed, you can access the add-on by clicking on "Add-ons" > "Insert Special Characters" > "Start".
  6. Browse or search for the symbol you want to insert, select it, and choose the desired size and color.
  7. Click "Insert" to add the symbol to your selected cell.

Other popular add-ons for inserting symbols include "Special Characters" and "Unicode Tools". Explore the Google Workspace Marketplace to find the add-on that best suits your needs and integrate with web scraping tools for enhanced functionality.

Save time by using Bardeen to connect Google Docs and automate repetitive tasks in your workflows.

Advanced Tips for Symbols in Formulas and Conditional Formatting

Incorporating symbols into custom formulas and conditional formatting rules can take your Google Sheets to the next level. By using symbols strategically, you can create dynamic cell formatting that visually represents data trends or thresholds, making your spreadsheet more intuitive and easier to interpret.

To use symbols in formulas, you can combine the CHAR function with other functions like IF, AND, or OR. For example, to display a checkmark (✓) in a cell when a condition is met, you can use a formula like this:


This formula checks if the value in cell A1 is greater than 100. If true, it displays a checkmark using the CHAR function with the Unicode 10003. If false, it displays an empty string.

Similarly, you can use symbols in conditional formatting rules to highlight cells that meet specific criteria. To do this:

  1. Select the range of cells you want to format.
  2. Click "Format" > "Conditional formatting" from the menu.
  3. Choose "Custom formula is" and enter a formula that includes a symbol, such as:
=AND(A1>100,A1This rule will apply formatting to cells in the selected range where the value is between 100 and 500. You can then customize the formatting to include a symbol, like a star (★) or an arrow (↑), to visually indicate the cells that meet the criteria.

To save time and add more functionality, consider how you can connect Microsoft Excel with your Google Sheets.

By leveraging symbols in formulas and conditional formatting, you can create powerful, dynamic visual cues that make your data more accessible and actionable.

Automate Your Google Sheets with Bardeen Playbooks

While inserting symbols in Google Sheets is done manually, automating other processes can significantly enhance productivity and accuracy, especially for repetitive tasks. For instance, generating QR codes or updating spreadsheet data based on external triggers can be streamlined with automation. Bardeen offers powerful playbooks to automate various tasks within Google Sheets, saving you time and minimizing manual effort.

  1. Create QR codes for a list of links in Google Sheets and save to Google Drive: This playbook automates the creation of QR codes from URLs listed in Google Sheets, saving each QR code to Google Drive for easy access and organization.
  2. Save selected text to Google Sheets, when I right-click: Effortlessly save any selected text from the web to Google Sheets with a simple right-click, perfect for research or data collection tasks.
  3. Save a Google Translate translation to Google Sheets: Seamlessly save translations from Google Translate to Google Sheets, ideal for managing multilingual data or learning new languages.
Automate Symbols in Google Sheets

Bardeen's GPT in Spreadsheets can automate inserting symbols and other tasks.

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