How to use the Degree symbol on Mac OS (OS X)

Sometimes, when writing documents that require special characters, we wonder how to type this or that character. Common keyboards often don’t include special characters. The same applies to the degree symbol. 

Typing the degree symbol on a Mac or any other computer may seem like a huge mystery because it’s not immediately visible on any keyboard, but it’s actually pretty easy if you know the right key combination.

How to type the degree character on Mac

There are actually two keyboard shortcuts for entering degree characters in macOS and Mac OS X, and you can paste the degree symbol into any Mac OS X application where your mouse is located by pressing one of the following keyboard commands, depending on which symbol you want to show. 

If you want to enter the temperature symbol, you have to press the “Option+Shift+8” combination. For example “72°”, is the symbol for the air temperatures.

If you want to type the degree symbol, you have to press the “Option+K” combination. It looks like 90˚ (a little bit smaller).

These keys are uniquely versatile and supported wherever you can type in Mac OS X, no matter what application you’re in on your Mac. As long as there’s a text input point, you can type a degree character, whether it’s in Pages, Messages, Word, Safari, Chrome, or any other word processor or text editor.

How to use degree symbol from the Special Characters Menu

The degree symbol, like many other symbols, can be inserted using the “Special Characters” menu, now called the “Emoji & Symbols” menu in the latest versions of macOS, including macOS Mojave.

To access it:

  • Place the text pointer where you want to insert the degree symbol;
  • Then go to Edit > Special Symbols (or Edit > Emoji & Symbols). You can also use the Control-Command-Space shortcut on your Mac keyboard.

A number of special characters, symbols, and, for OS X Yosemite, Emoji, will appear in a new window. Instead of manually browsing through the hundreds of available characters, just type “degree” in the search box to display the available degree characters.

You’ll have a choice of three-degree symbols: one each for degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius, as well as a regular degree symbol. Simply double-click the desired symbol to insert it at the current location of the mouse cursor or trackpad. Frequently used symbols and characters will appear below the search box, saving you time in the future.

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