If you’re a mathematician, there will come a point where you need to type the plus-minus sign (±). In mathematics, it generally indicates a choice of exactly two possible values, one of which is the negation of the other.

Modern keyboards and US keyboards don’t have the plus-minus sign so to type the plus-minus sign on your keyboard, you can use different codes or the character map on your Windows or Mac PC.

Microsoft Programs

If you’re on Microsoft programs such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, you can type the plus-minus sign using an Alt + X code. This can be used if you have a keyboard that doesn’t have a number keyboard and you’re on a Microsoft program like Word. To type the plus-minus sign, press 00B1 + Alt + X.

If your keyboard has a number keyboard, then you can type the plus-minus sign using an Alt code – this consists of you pressing a few numbers whilst holding the Alt key. The numerical keyboard is on the right-hand side of your keyboard – most desktop keyboards have a numerical keyboard. If you’re using a laptop, you’ll only see the numbers in the top row of your keyboard and not on the right. To type the plus-minus sign on your keyboard, type 241 whilst holding Alt.

If you have a laptop or keyboard without a numeric keypad, then you’ll need to use keyboard 7, 8, 0, U, I, O, J, K, L, and M. These keys are alternatives to 0-9 when Num Lock is activated. M=0, J=1, K=2, L=3, U=4, I=5, O=6, 7=7, 8=8, 9=9. If you haven’t got a numeric keypad:

1. Hold Fn + NumLk to enable Num Lock.

2. Hold the Alt key and type 241. Remember which number corresponds to regular keypads without a numeric keypad. So 2=K 4=U, 1=M.

3. Let go of all the keys and you should see the plus minus sign in your text.

Windows Character Map

If you’re confused by the Alt code, then you can just use the Map installed on your computer.

Character Map

1. Open the Start menu and open the Character Map.

2. In Search for, plus minus and double-click the plus minus sign on it to make it appear in Characters to copy.

3. Select Copy to copy the symbol and then you can paste it within your text.

Mac

1. Go to the Finder > Emoji & Symbols.

Emoji

2. In the Search bar, search for plus-minus.

3. Right-click the plus-minus sign and select Copy Character Info. This will add it to the keyboard.

4. Paste the plus-minus sign within your text.