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How to Type the Mu or Micro Symbol in Word (µ)

Often used in science and medicine, the Greek letter mu (µ) is a prefix that means micro or one millionth.

If you’re a scientist or a doctor, you may need to use the mu or micro symbol in Word from time to time – and that’s what this article is all about! (We’ve written articles on the square root and approximately equal symbols too.)

Here are 7 ways to type the mu or micro symbol in Word.

1) Insert the Mu or Micro Symbol with the Symbol Font

You can easily insert the mu (µ) or micro symbol in Word by switching to the Symbol font.

This method is your best choice when you only need to add a single character (like the micro symbol). After you type the mu symbol, Word switches back the previous font.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Q then type the letter m.

2) Use Microsoft Word’s Built-In Shortcut for Mu (µ)

There is a predefined shortcut for the Mu symbol in Word. Just type 03bc or 03BC (capitalization doesn’t matter) then immediately press Alt + x.

3) Add the Micro Symbol with the Symbol Dialog Box

You can add the mu or micro symbol with the Symbol dialog box.

  1. Select the Insert tab on the Ribbon in Microsoft Word then click Symbol in the Symbols group .
  2. Click More Symbols.
    The character map dialog appears displaying symbols and special characters.
  3. Click the Symbols tab, if necessary then choose (normal text) from the font drop-down menu and select the Greek and Coptic subset.
  4. Scroll through the list of symbols and select the micro symbol (µ).
  5. Click Insert then click Close.
The mu symbol

4) Insert the Mu Symbol with an Alt Code

You can enter an alt code using a numeric keypad to quickly add the micro symbol to your Word document.

Hold the Alt key on your keyboard as you type either of the following codes on your numeric keypad:

  • 230
  • 0181

Important: This shortcut will only work if you have a full size keyboard with a numeric keypad – just make sure your num lock key is enabled.

If you’re working on a laptop without a numeric keypad, you likely don’t have a full sized keyboard and this method probably won’t work.

5) Create a Custom Keyboard Shortcut to Insert the Micro Symbol

You can create a custom keyboard shortcut to insert the micro symbol any time you need to. This method involves some set up but it’ll make typing the approximately mu or micro symbol a lot 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 Greek and Coptic from the Subset drop-down menu.
  4. Select the micro symbol (µ) symbol then click the Shortcut Key button.
    The Customise Keyboard dialog box appears.
  5. Press Ctrl + Alt + m (or another key combination) then click Assign.
  6. Click Close twice.

6) Add the Mu or Micros Symbol Using Math Autocorrect Rules

Autocorrect monitors everything you type into a Word document and can substitute the micro symbol (µ) whenever you type \mu… but you have to enable Use Maths AutoCorrect rules outside maths regions checkbox before you can use this shortcut.

  1. Select the Insert tab on the Ribbon in Microsoft Word then click Symbol in the Symbols group .
  2. Click More Symbols.
    The character map dialog appears displaying symbols and special characters.
  3. Click the Symbols tab, if necessary then choose (normal text) from the font drop-down menu and select the Greek and Coptic subset.
  4. Scroll through the list of symbols, select the micro symbol (µ) then click the AutoCorrect button.
    The AutoCorrect dialog box appears.
  5. Select the Maths AutoCorrect tab and click the checkbox next to Use Maths AutoCorrect rules outside maths regions.
  6. Click OK then click Close.
Maths AutoCorrect tab in the AutoCorrect dialog box

7) Type the Micro Symbol in an Equation Block

Microsoft Word includes a feature that easily lets you enter mathematical symbols and equations. Here is how to add the micro 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 micro symbol (µ) from the Symbols gallery or type \mu then press the space bar in the equation field.

How Will You Insert the Mu or Micro Symbol in Microsoft Word?

I hope you found this article on inserting the mu or micro symbol useful. Keep in mind that no matter which method you use, the end result is the same: the micro symbol is inserted into your Word document.

Whether you use an Alt key shortcut, the Symbol font, or the Symbol dialog box is up to you. It all comes down to personal preference. The most valuable shortcut is the one you remember!

By Michael Belfry

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