Adding Special Characters to Word (Mac, PC & Linux): ƿǷðÐϸϷ

I’m posting this on behalf of the geniuses and saviours, Sarah Gilbert and @thingwhatwows, to whom credit for this is entirely due. My only contribution was complaining enough to prompt them to work it out. I’m posting it here in the hope it can help as many people as possible. EDIT: And thanks to Thom Gobbitt, instructions for PC and Linux have been added below.

This is a method for creating keyboard shortcuts in Word so you can easily type special characters. This has REVOLUTIONISED my manuscript transcription: thorn, eth and wynn are a key-press away, and I don’t have to resort to an Icelandic keyboard or endless copy&pasting anymore! It’s much, much simpler than it initially looks. Trust me!
Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 13.57.03

Even *I* can do it. I was very excited.


0. Flip your computer keyboard flag (top right corner of the desktop) to British if you don’t like using the American Extended binds. Open a new document in Word. Open the Character Viewer, ‘favourite’ anything you want to bind and then make sure the Character Viewer is set to ‘favourites’.

1. Click into your Word document to make Word your active window.

2. Menu Bar > Tools > Macro > Record New Macro. A dialog box will come up and ask you to name your macro. Call it WynnUpper. Tell Word you want it in “All documents” if it’s giving you a drop-down menu for where to store it. Ignore the description box.

3. Click the “keyboard” button. You will be taken to a new window and asked to “press new keyboard shortcut”. For example ctrl shift / [CONTROL key, SHIFT key, and then the FORWARD SLASH key].

4. Type ctrl shift  / into the box and click “assign”. Then click “ok”. There should be an empty word document as your active window.

5. Go to the Character Viewer and double click the capital wynn to paste it into your document.

6. Menu Bar > Tools > Macro > Stop Recording.

7. You’re done. Test your macro by typing ctrl shift /

8. Repeat as many times as you want.

Notes: Macros can apparently only be preceded by a ctrl modifier – trying to use alt doesn’t work. Macro names need to be free from spaces and interesting punctuation. WynnUpper = good, Wynn Upper = bad. If it asks you anything about saving modifications to the template when you quit, just say yes. Also, this only works in Word. It won’t work on twitter or anywhere else sadly.

The keyboard shortcuts I chose are as follows:

ƿ [ctrl w]
Ƿ [ctrl shift w]
ð [ctrl d]
Ð [ctrl shift d]
ϸ [ctrl t]
Ϸ [ctrl shift d]


1. Open a Word document
2. Open the ‘symbol’ panel (under the ‘Insert’ tab)
3. Click on ‘more symbols’
4. Select the symbol you want, e.g. < Đ >
5. Click on the ‘shortcut key’ at the bottom
6. Make sure the cursor is flashing in the ‘Press New shortcut Key’ text box
7. Enter the key combination you want to use in future. for this example I used ‘Ctrl + Shift + D’
8. Click the ‘assign’ button (It should now appear under the ‘current keys’ heading)
9. Click ‘Close’ or repeat for other graphs and, finally,
9b. Marvel at your brilliance.