Windows Gurus,

On the Mac OS I have many keyboard shortcuts set up to type strange characters, such as "\pi" types a PI symbol (π), or even emojis. There is a system pref. pane, next to the "autocorrect" panel, where you type in the "\pi" and then I copy/paste the appropriate symbol from the Character viewer. This hint shows what I'm talking about: https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/289145/43113

How can I enable similar functionality in Windows?
I seem to remember colleagues memorizing numerical Alt-Codes (eg. Alt+1234 to type some symbol). Is there a simple replace-as-you-type or "autocorrect" as you type feature that can be enabled system-wide, to insert greek characters and arrows etc.? (I know MS Office apps have their own, isolated, autocorrect features, but I want system wide shortcuts - eg. for notes, email, word etc.).

I found this answer: Text shortcuts for faster communication The solution, AutoHotKey requires Basic programming and I'm hoping for less overhead. If there is no simpler solution, then I'll go with AutoHotKey (some day when I decide it's worth the time to figure it out).

Looking for solution on Windows 10 Pro. Thanks!

  • Did you find a better answer to this problem?
    – Regular Jo
    Oct 3, 2018 at 22:03
  • No! |:^P Please post if you find one.
    – Demis
    Oct 4, 2018 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


For future readers who might stumble upon this:

The type of software you are looking for is called a text expander. Since we're not supposed to put advertisement for software in this realm of the SE network, this is pretty much the end of the answer. I'd like to refer you to softwarerecs.SE or to the website alternativeto to find suitable software matching your requirements.

(The second link will take you to the alternativeto site for TextExpander, which seems to be a commercially available software. I don't know TextExpander and I am not endorsing this particular software, but felt like this was a great starting point to find other suitable software.)

  • 1
    Just getting the correct term/name for this kind of tool is answer enough. Thanks mate. Apr 25, 2023 at 6:34

The "quick" geeky code use, that will work regardless of who's machine you're at, or which windows version it is:

I seem to remember colleagues memorizing numerical Alt-Codes (eg. Alt+1234 to type some symbol).

Hold the left windows key, hit R, then type charmap and hit enter. Find the character you need in the GUI and either copy it using the button present there, or memorize and use the numeric code as you already indicated.

  • 3
    Thanks. I'm trying to avoid memorizing random digits, but instead create user-readable shortcuts (like \degree or \lambda etc.) for ease of use.
    – Demis
    Nov 6, 2017 at 20:32
  • for us who're running Linux, Characters or Character map does the same as charmap (above)
    – Hannu
    Jul 29, 2023 at 4:44

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