Insert Special Characters Easily with WinCompose

There are two standard ways of inserting special characters in any editor application – either by using the Character Map utility in Windows or through the special character insertion tool of the document editor itself (for example, Microsoft Word has a special symbols feature that allows you to choose the special characters and symbols). The only problem is that these utilities take a long time as they offer special character insertion either by copy-paste or by selecting them using your mouse. You can instead use the WinCompose tool to insert the special characters just by using the hotkeys. This way you can quickly insert the special characters in any Windows applications.

The WinCompose application is an open source program that allows you to insert over 1600 special characters in any Windows program just by using one of hotkeys. After the installation, it places an icon in the system tray. You can click on this icon to open the main user interface of WinCompose and view all the special characters and their assigned hotkeys. By default the compose key is the right-alt key on your keyboard. You have to press the compose key followed by the specified key combinations to insert the special characters.


For example, you can insert the ǹ character you have to press and release the right-alt key first (the system tray icon will turn green), and then press ~ + n key combination together. Similarly, you can insert the character through the # + # combination. In the following screenshot, you can see some of these special characters being inserted in the Windows Notepad.


In the WinCompose settings, you can choose the compose key (which is right-alt by default). You can choose the compose key delay which determines time time gap needed for WinCompose to be ready after pressing the compose key. You can also choose case sensitive matches and falling back to default keystrokes in case of mismatches among other options.


Verdict: WinCompose can make things easy when you have to insert special characters and symbols in any Windows application. You no longer have to copy paste the special characters from the Character Map tool, but you can use the key combinations in WinCompose to insert the symbols for uninterrupted working with your documents.

You can download WinCompose from