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I am writing a technical document in MS Word 2007, which needs to show the reader how to execute some commands on the operating system. Something like:

C:\script_dir> run.bat [RETURN]

Many technical books show a symbol for the [RETURN], which is what I would like to do -- not only to cut down on the length of the text, but also to eliminate any confusion about whether the reader should include that space between the "run.bat" and the [RETURN] key.

I looked through the stuff that's available through "Insert Symbol", but didn't see anything that looked like a good candidate.

Any suggestions?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

i think you're looking for the downwards arrow with corner leftwards?

  • "carriage return arrow"
  • U+21B5
  • ↵
  • ↵
  • Alt + 21B5
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Nice. Taught me something new :-). – user3463 Dec 2 '10 at 18:24
I was looking all over for that. You beat me fair and square. :-) – oKtosiTe Dec 2 '10 at 18:28
Welcome to the ranks of the Stackathletes. – Dennis Williamson Dec 2 '10 at 20:44
On Windows 7, I am unable to type Alt + 21B5. It simply opens the menu of the application I'm using. So if one converts the Unicode character number from hex to decimal, one would get 8629. Alt + 8629 appears to work, provided the current font contains the ↵ on that location. – oKtosiTe Dec 4 '10 at 16:49
As implied in my previous comment, not all fonts provide this symbol. One that does on Windows 7 is Segoe UI Symbol. – oKtosiTe Dec 4 '10 at 16:51

I would recommend getting a keycap font (one example I quickly found is Qwerty PC), especially if you'll be representing keystrokes often throughout your documents. Make sure the font covers special keys like Enter . Some are free, and some aren't.

If you go this route, however, consider whether you'll need to embed the font so you can open the file on another computer.

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And for anyone wondering how to represent keyboard shortcuts like displayed in the answer above: use the <kbd> html tag. – oKtosiTe Dec 2 '10 at 18:30
@oKtosiTe D'oh! I totally should have thought to mention that! – Firefeather Dec 2 '10 at 18:32
Well, it is somewhat off-topic, but I thought I'd mention it since I only recently found out about it myself. Cheers! – oKtosiTe Dec 2 '10 at 18:34
Is that a tag that is generally usable in all HTML? Or is it something peculiar to StackExchange markdown? – eidylon Dec 2 '10 at 18:45
Cool! Learned my new thing for the day! :) – eidylon Dec 2 '10 at 20:12

I generally use <ENTER> for my technical documentation, with a space after the last command. Then in the intro of the document you can say what it represents, and that the preceding space is just for formatting and should be ignored.

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This might need some explanation for your readers, but some use the pilcrow: ¶

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