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How to Insert the Approximately Equal Symbol in Word (≈)

In mathematics, you can insert a symbol to indicate that one value (or set of values) is approximately equal to another. You might not use the approximately equal to symbol often, but it’s good to know how to add it if you ever need to!

This article describes 5 ways to insert the approximately equal to (also called “almost equal to”) symbol into a Word document.

1) Insert Approximately Equal With the Insert Symbol Dialog Box

You can easily insert the approximately equal symbol into any Word document using using a mouse or touchpad and the Insert Symbol dialog box:

  1. Click the Symbol button in the Symbols group on the Insert tab.
  2. Select More Symbols from the drop-down menu.
    The Symbols dialog appears.
  3. Verify that the Symbols tab is selected. Select (normal text) from the Font drop-down menu and Mathematical Operators from the Subset drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Almost Equal To symbol (≈), click the Insert button, then click Close.

2) Add the Approximately Equal Symbol with Equation on the Insert Tab

Word has a feature that lets you enter complex mathematical formulas with ease. Here is how to add an approximately equal symbol with the Equation feature:

  1. Click the Equation button in the Symbols group on the Insert tab (or press Alt + =).
    An equation field is added to the document and the Equation tab appears on Word’s ribbon.
  2. Click the Almost Equal to symbol (≈) from the Symbols gallery or type \approx then press the space bar in the equation field.

3) Type the Approximately Equal Alt Code With the Numeric Keypad

You can insert the approximately equal symbol by holding the Alt key while typing 247 on your numeric keypad.

Please note: the Alt + 247 shortcut only works if you have a full size keyboard with a numeric keypad. If you have a laptop with a compact keyboard, this shortcut probably won’t work.

4) Create a Keyboard Shortcut in Microsoft Word

You can create a custom keyboard shortcut to insert the almost equal to symbol any time you want. This method involves some set up but it’ll make typing the approximately equal symbol way easier!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Click the Symbol button in the Symbols group on the Insert tab.
  2. Select More Symbols from the drop-down menu.
    The Symbols dialog appears.
  3. Verify that the Symbols tab is selected. Select (normal text) from the Font drop-down menu and Mathematical Operators from the Subset drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Almost Equal To symbol (≈) then click the Shortcut Key button.
    The Customise Keyboard dialog box appears.
  5. Press Ctrl + Alt + A (or another key combination) then click Assign.
  6. Click Close twice.

Ctrl + Alt + A is a good keyboard shortcut to assign to the approximately equal symbol because it’s easy to remember. Approximately equal begins with A!

5) Add the Approximately Equal Symbol to the AutoCorrect Dialog Box

You can configure an AutoCorrect to substitute the approximately equal symbol whenever a string of characters (like \approx) is typed in Microsoft Word.

Here is a quick way to add an entry for approximately equal to AutoCorrect in Word.

  1. Click the Symbol button in the Symbols group on the Insert tab.
  2. Select More Symbols from the drop-down menu.
    The Symbols dialog box appears.
  3. Verify that the Symbols tab is selected. Select (normal text) from the Font drop-down menu and Mathematical Operators from the Subset drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Almost Equal to symbol (≈) then click the AutoCorrect button.
    The AutoCorrect dialog box appears.
  5. Type \approx in the Replace box then click Add then click OK.
  6. Click Close.

After adding an entry for almost equal to, every time you type \approx then press the space bar, AutoCorrect will automatically replace the text with the approximately equal symbol.

There Are Several Ways to Insert the Approximately Equal Symbol

Whether you use the Insert Symbol dialog box or the alt code method and your numeric keypad, there are many ways to insert the approximately equal sign in Microsoft Word.

Let’s write some complex math formulas! ; )

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.