Plus or Minus sign ± in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook

Type the ‘Plus or Minus sign’ ±  into Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook.  Both in Office for Windows and Office for Mac.

Plus-Minus ± symbol isn’t just used for equations, it’s also used as a shortcut for ‘plus or minus’.  In statistics you’ll often see results given as being “ ± 3% ”.

How Plus or Minus ± looks in different fonts.

Here’s some examples of how Plus-Minus ± looks in common Office fonts.  In some the two characters are separated but some others are joined.

Plus-Minus ± codes

These are the important code numbers or values you’ll need to enter the Plus / Minus or ±

Decimal:  177  Hex:   00B1

Web:  ± or ± or ±

(web codes aren’t used in Microsoft Office, we’ve included them for the sake of completeness.)

Word and Outlook

The Plus / Minus ±  sign does NOT have an inbuilt shortcut in Word.

Use the standard Word Alt + X symbol shortcut  B1  + Alt + X

Once in a document you can copy it to AutoCorrect and make your own shortcut.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook

Insert | Symbols | Symbol and look for the Plus-Minus symbol.


In Windows there are several shortcuts to enter the Plus or Minus ±  character into any program, but they use a numeric keypad, not the number row above the letters.

Alt + 0177  

Windows Character Map

The Windows Character Map accessory in all Windows releases

Character Map has a search feature, something missing from the Insert | Symbol in Office.

MacOS and Office for Mac inserting characters

On a Mac, to enter the Plus-Minus ± symbol:

  • Command + Control + Spacebar shortcut to open the Character Viewer.   
  • Search for “ Plus  “ and the Viewer should find the symbol you need.

Despite the name Character Viewer, the Apple system tool will also insert characters into any program, including Office for Mac.

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