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How to do the degree symbol on mac

how to do the degree symbol on mac

In today’s digitized world, it is not uncommon to find ourselves needing special characters for various purposes, be it for educational documents, technical writing, or even social media posts. One such character that you might often require is the degree symbol (°). On a Mac, this can seem a bit tricky at first, especially if you are used to the ease of finding symbols on a traditional keyboard. In this article, I will share my experiences with several methods to input the degree symbol on a Mac, from keyboard shortcuts to character viewers. Whether you’re a student, professional, or just someone who likes to ensure their writing is accurate and complete, these steps will help you master the process.


Common Scenarios:

Type Away in Your Daily Writing

  • Typically, the need for a degree symbol arises when you’re indicating temperatures, measurements, or GPS coordinates.
  • While finishing up a lab report or preparing a presentation, you might find that a degree symbol is necessary for a complete and professional look.
  • The degree symbol can also pop up in casual conversations, especially when discussing the weather or sharing recipes online.

The Technical Side of Things

  • Developing content for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields often requires the use of a degree symbol.
  • When coding or creating algorithms, developers may need to insert the degree symbol in a string or comment.
  • Creating technical models, which include angular measurements or references to temperature, will involve the degree symbol as part of the notation.

Cross-Platform Consistency

  • In a world where documents and digital content are ever more interchangeable, ensuring cross-platform symbol consistency – like that of the degree symbol – is crucial.
  • Whether you’re working on a collaborative document with users on different operating systems or preparing a file for publication, it’s important to input characters correctly.
  • Product designers and graphic artists may also need to use the degree symbol to specify dimensions and measurements accurately across varied design platforms.

Step-by-Step Guide. How To Do The Degree Symbol On Mac:

Method 1: Keyboard Shortcut

  • Press and hold the Shift and Option keys together.
  • While holding those keys, press the 8 key once. This should produce the .

Note: Ensure that your Num Lock is off if you’re using a keyboard with a numeric keypad. The shortcut might not work otherwise.

Conclusion: This method is quick and convenient for anyone who frequently needs to use the degree symbol in their writing.

Method 2: The Special Characters Menu

  • Access the Special Characters menu by clicking on the Edit menu at the top of your screen and selecting Emoji & Symbols, or by using the shortcut Control + Command + Space.
  • Navigate to the category labeled Symbols, and then to Letterlike Symbols.
  • Scroll down to find the degree symbol (°) and double-click on it to insert it into your document.

Note: The symbols menu has a large number of special characters, which can be overwhelming. Take your time to familiarize yourself with this section for future use.

Conclusion: This method gives you access to a wide range of special characters, including the degree symbol, making it very convenient for specific and occasional needs.

Method 3: The Character Viewer

  • Open the Character Viewer by clicking on the Edit menu, then selecting Emoji & Symbols or by pressing Control + Command + Space.
  • In the Character Viewer, enter ‘degree’ into the search bar.
  • Select the degree symbol from the search results and click on it to insert it where your cursor is in the document.

Note: The Character Viewer contains not just the degree symbol, but many other useful characters, so it’s worth exploring.

Conclusion: This method is very user-friendly, especially for those who are not keen on memorizing keyboard shortcuts.

Method 4: Text Replacement Feature

  • Go to System Preferences and click on Keyboard.
  • Click on the Text tab and click on the ‘+’ button to add a new text replacement.
  • In the Replace column, type a shortcut phrase – for example, ‘deg’. In the With column, input the degree symbol using one of the methods above or by copying and pasting it.

Note: This way, every time you type your shortcut, it will automatically be replaced with the degree symbol.

Conclusion: Text replacement is ideal for those who need to frequently use the degree symbol and other special characters.

Method 5: Copy and Paste from the Web

  • Do a quick web search for ‘degree symbol’ and you’ll find several websites that display it.
  • Select the symbol with your mouse, copy it (Command + C), and then paste it (Command + V) where needed in your document.

Note: This method is one of the simplest, though not as quick as a keyboard shortcut or text replacement for repeated use.

Conclusion: Copying and pasting is a straightforward method that doesn’t require you to remember any shortcuts or use special menus.


Precautions and Tips:

Enhance Your Typing Skills

  • Practicing the use of keyboard shortcuts not only for the degree symbol but for other frequently used symbols can significantly increase your typing efficiency and productivity.
  • Becoming familiar with the Special Characters menu and Character Viewer prepares you for any character you might need, even beyond the degree symbol.
  • Keep in mind that text replacements sync across all your Apple devices if you’re using the same iCloud account, which can be very handy.

Expanding Your Mac Keyboard Knowledge

Understanding your Mac’s keyboard functionalities extends beyond the insertion of symbols. There are shortcuts for nearly every command, which can help streamline your workflow. A useful resource to enhance your knowledge on this topic could be visiting the Apple Support website. They have a comprehensive guide on Mac keyboard shortcuts.

Moreover, for those involved in graphic design or desktop publishing, mastering keyboard shortcuts in applications like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign is crucial. Websites like Adobe Help Center can be invaluable for learning these application-specific commands.

You can also personalize your Mac experience further by creating custom keyboard shortcuts for any menu item in any application, directly from the Keyboard preferences pane. Apple’s support page provides a clear tutorial on how to set these up.


In conclusion, whether you’re a seasoned Mac user or new to macOS, there are plenty of ways to input the degree symbol (°) efficiently. Using the methods outlined in this guide, you can choose the one best suited to your needs or even become proficient in multiple methods for added flexibility. Alongside these tips, exploring the vast functionalities of the Mac keyboard as a whole can further enhance your productivity and technical know-how.


To quickly make a degree symbol on a Mac, press Shift + Option + 8 simultaneously on your keyboard.

Yes, another combination to type the degree symbol is using Option + K.

Absolutely. In Mac Pages, click Insert > Character… and choose the degree symbol from the list.

In Mac Word, go to Insert > Symbol, select Advanced Symbol, and find the degree symbol to insert it.

Yes, you can use the Emoji & Symbols viewer (Edit > Emoji & Symbols), search for degree and double-click it to insert.

In any text document, pressing Shift + Option + 8 will insert a degree symbol wherever your cursor is located.

macOS provides the Character Viewer, which can be accessed by pressing Control + Command + Space. Search for degree within this utility.

In Excel for Mac, you can insert a degree symbol by pressing Shift + Option + 8 while typing in a cell.

If standard shortcuts fail, try resetting your keyboard settings or use the Character Viewer as an alternative method.

For more information on Mac keyboard shortcuts, you can visit Apple Support.