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How to Insert the Square Root Symbol in Word (6 Ways)

In math, the square root of a number is a factor that, when multiplied by itself, results in the original number.

If you write about advanced mathematics, it can be helpful to know how to insert the square root symbol into a Word document. For additional math symbols, check out my articles on inserting the micro or approximately equal symbols into Word documents or take a look at our Microsoft Word courses.

Here are 6 ways you can insert a square root symbol in Microsoft Word.

1) Add the Square Root Symbol with the Symbol Dialog Box

You can easily insert the square root symbol using the Symbols dialog box. Click where you want the square root symbol to appear then do the following:

  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 Square Root symbol (√), click the Insert button, then click Close.
Symbol dialog box with square root symbol selected

2) Add the Square Root Symbol with Equation on the Insert Tab

Microsoft Word includes a feature that lets you enter complex mathematical formulas with ease. Here is how to add a square root symbol with the insert 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 Square Root symbol (or Radical Sign) from the Symbols gallery or type \sqrt then press the space bar in the equation field.
Symbols gallery on the Equation tab

3) Add the Square Root Symbol Using an Alt Code Shortcut

You can insert the square root symbol by holding the Alt key while typing 251 on your numeric keypad.

Please note: the Alt + 251 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 likely won’t work for you.

4) Add a Keyboard Shortcut to Insert Square Root Symbol

You can create a custom keyboard shortcut to enter square roots with ease. This method involves a little set up but it’ll make typing the square root symbol so much 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 Square Root symbol (√) then click the Shortcut Key button.
    The Customise Keyboard dialog box appears.
  5. Press Ctrl + Alt + Q (or another key combination) then click Assign.
  6. Click Close twice.
Customise Keyboard dialog box

After completing this process, you press Ctrl + Alt + Q any time you want to type the square root symbol.

Ctrl + Alt + Q is a good keyboard shortcut to type square root because it’s not used for anything else.

5) Use AutoCorrect to Insert the Square Root Symbol

You can configure an AutoCorrect to substitute the square root symbol whenever a string of characters (like \sqrt) is typed.

Here is a quick way to add an entry for square root 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 Square Root symbol (√) then click the AutoCorrect button.
    The AutoCorrect dialog box appears.
  5. Type \sqrt in the Replace box then click Add then click OK.
  6. Click Close.
AutoCorrect dialog box

After completing this process, every time you type \sqrt then press the space bar, AutoCorrect will automatically replace the characters with the square root symbol.

6) Copy and Paste the Square Root Symbol

You can copy the square root symbol from another document or web page into your current Word document. If you don’t use the square root symbol often, this can be the easiest way to add it.

Inserting the Square Root Symbol in Microsoft Word is Easy

Each of the techniques outlined in this article let you insert a square root symbol into a Microsoft Word document.

I think using an alt code shortcut to insert the square root symbol is the easiest option but it won’t work if you don’t have a numeric keypad. Use the shortcut that you find easiest to remember – and you’ll insert square root symbols like a pro!

By Michael Belfry

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