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Vertical Bar | symbol in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook

How to insert the Vertical Bar |  into Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook.  Both in Office for Windows and Office for Mac.

Vertical Bar | symbol (technically a glyph) has many uses in computing, physics, maths and typography.

In some programming languages | has a special meaning, for example in PowerShell | is called a ‘pipe’ to connect commands. In C it’s a logical OR.  Regex also uses | to separate two or more options (a logical OR).

At Office Watch we use | to separate ribbon menu items e.g. Insert | Symbols | Symbol.

How Vertical Bar | looks in different fonts.

Here’s some examples of how Vertical Bar | looks in common Office fonts, choose a font for the line thickness or vertical position you prefer.

Vertical Bar | codes

These are the important code numbers or values you’ll need to enter the Vertical Bar or |

Decimal:  124  Hex:   007C

Web:  | | | or | or |

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

Word and Outlook

The Vertical Bar |  sign does NOT have an inbuilt shortcut in Word but it’s not normally necessary because the symbol is on most keyboards.

If it’s not on the keyboard. use the standard Word Alt + X symbol shortcut 007C  then 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  Vertical Bar symbol.


In Windows there are several shortcuts to enter the Vertical Bar |  character into any program, but they use a numeric keypad, not the number row above the letters.

Alt + 124  

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

Again Vertical Bar | symbol should be on the Mac keyboard but, if not …

  • Command + Control + Spacebar shortcut to open the Character Viewer.  
  • Search for “ Vertical“ 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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