How to Use Alt Codes Without a Numpad

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Alt codes, or alt key codes, let you type special characters directly from your keyboard. These are super handy when you need symbols that aren’t on the regular keys, like the degree symbol (°) or copyright symbol (©). But, if your keyboard doesn’t have a numeric keypad, known as a numpad, how do you use alt codes? This guide will show you a few workarounds on how to use alt codes without a numpad in Windows 11 or Windows 10.

Also see: How to Remap Keyboard Keys in Windows 11

How to Use Alt Codes Without a Numpad

How to use numpad on laptop without numlock

Many laptop keyboards don’t have a numpad because there’s not enough space. But, they often include a kind of hidden numpad among the regular keys. You can turn these regular keys into a numpad using the Fn (Function) key.

  1. Find the Fn key on your keyboard. It’s usually at the bottom, next to the spacebar.Laptop Fn key
  2. Look for keys with small numbers or symbols. These are your makeshift numpad.
  3. To turn them into a numpad, hold down the Fn key while pressing the keys with numbers or symbols.How to use numpad on laptop without numlock

For instance, on some Lenovo laptops, keys like 7, 8, 9, U, I, O, J, K, L, and M can work as a numpad. Remember, the layout might vary depending on your laptop model.

Linked issue: How to Unlock Lenovo Keyboard if It’s not Working

Typing Alt codes without a numpad using Character Map in Windows 11 or 10

If your computer doesn’t have a numpad, you can still type special characters using the Character Map tool in Windows 11 or 10. Here’s how:

  1. Hit the Start button or press the Windows key.
  2. Search for “Character Map“.Open Character Map in Windows 11
  3. Open “Character Map” from the results.
  4. Look through the window for the character you need and click on it. Then hit “Select” and “Copy“.How to use Alt Codes without numpad in Windows 11
  5. Go to where you need the character and press Ctrl + V to paste it.Windows 11 Alt codes without number pad

Useful tip: Use Wireless Controller as Mouse/Keyboard in Windows 11

Using Alt codes with the On-screen Keyboard

You can also use alt codes without a physical numpad by using the on-screen keyboard. This virtual keyboard lets you click on keys instead of pressing them.

  1. Click the Start button or hit the Windows key.
  2. Type “on-screen keyboard” and press Enter.Open on-screen keyboard Windows 11
  3. Open the “On-Screen Keyboard“.
  4. To use an Alt code, click the “Alt” key on the virtual keyboard, then click the needed numbers from its numpad section.Using Alt codes with the On-screen Keyboard
  5. Let go of the “Alt” key, and your special character will show up where your cursor is.

Related resource: Windows 11 Keyboard Shortcuts Not Working (Fix)

Typing special characters like em dash (—) without a numpad

Typing symbols like the em dash (—) can be a challenge without a numpad. But don’t worry, you can still use the Character Map, On-Screen Keyboard, or even the AutoCorrect feature in Microsoft Word. Here’s how to set up AutoCorrect:

  1. Open Microsoft Word and click on “File” at the top left.
  2. Choose “Options” from the menu. A new window will pop up.Microsoft Word File Options
  3. Select “Proofing” from the sidebar.Microsoft Word Options Proofing Settings
  4. Click “AutoCorrect Options“.Word AutoCorrect Options
  5. In “Replace” field, type a unique sequence you’ll remember to replace with an em dash (like “–“).
  6. In “With” field, type an em dash. If you don’t have it, copy and paste one from the to type em dash without numpad
  7. Hit “Add” to save your new rule, then click “OK“.

Now, typing your special sequence (like “–“) in Word and pressing space or enter will magically change it to an em dash.

End notes

Not having a numpad shouldn’t stop you from using alt codes or typing special characters. This guide showed you a few ways to get around it in Windows 11 and 10. Using the Character Map, the on-screen keyboard, a hidden numpad on your laptop, or AutoCorrect in Word, you should be able to type special characters without a physical numpad. These tricks are perfect especially if you’re working on a laptop without a numpad or if you’re typing in a browser.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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