Samuel Edwards

April 17, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Keyboard Shortcuts for Legal Symbols

As a lawyer, you have to do a lot of writing.

That includes legal documents themselves, but also blog posts, social media posts, and exchanges with your clients.

Most of this writing is going to be professionally challenging, yet accessible to someone with your knowledge and qualifications. But at the same time, it can bog you down if you don't have a refined system of approach to save yourself time and increase convenience.

In other words, you need productivity strategies to minimize the time you spend on your legal documents and maximize the time you have to spend on more important responsibilities.

While they may seem trivial, all the legal symbols you have to manually enter can cost you big in terms of time expenditure. Even if each symbol only takes you 10-20 seconds to enter, over the course of a full legal career, that could cost you hundreds of hours eventually.

Wouldn't it be easier if there were keyboard shortcuts to allow you to enter these legal symbols instantly and painlessly?

Of course it would be.

But if you're not familiar with how to use these keyboard shortcuts or create your own, you might fail to reach your peak productive potential.

That's why we created this guide.

So let's dig in – and start saving the precious time you need.

What Are Legal Symbol Keyboard Shortcuts?

Legal symbols include things like paragraph symbols, the copyright symbol, and symbols for common legal concepts like defendants, plaintiffs, and document sections. These special symbols don't typically appear on standard keyboards, but are required for a wide variety of legal documents and communications.

You can typically add these symbols on a digital device in one of three ways.

First, you could simply copy and paste the legal symbol from an existing document.

Second, you could pull up a symbol menu within the program you're using and manually select the symbol you need.

Third, you could use a specialized keyboard, potentially including a virtual keyboard, to gain more immediate access to the legal symbol you want.

However, all of these options are a bit time-consuming and annoying to deal with.

Keyboard shortcuts, in contrast, allow you to type a short sequence of existing characters to produce the desired symbol much more quickly. These keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols come in a few different varieties – and you likely have the potential to customize your own shortcuts if you don't like the standard ones.

How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts for Legal Symbols

Both Windows and Mac devices have existing keyboard shortcuts for commonly used legal symbols.

If you memorize this chart, and get a bit of practice under your belt, these can quickly be consolidated into your muscle memory, and you should have no trouble reproducing the legal symbols you need intuitively.

To reproduce a Windows shortcut, you'll need to use the number pad, with “Num Lock” engaged. Hold down the Alt button, then type the correct sequence of numbers, then release the Alt button to produce the symbol.

To reproduce a Mac shortcut, all you'll need to do is hold down the modifier button and type the corresponding keyboard symbols.

For most lawyers, these keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols are sufficient. But if you're looking for something shorter, more memorable, or just better suited to your style of thinking, you may be interested in customizing your own keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols.

Alternative Solutions for Legal Symbols

Note that there are some alternative solutions available for producing legal symbols. As we've already mentioned, you can copy and paste symbols, rely on virtual keyboards, or tap into existing symbol menus within your chosen document drafting programs.

Third-party tools like TextExpander and FastKeys may also be viable options for you. These software products specialize in allowing customizable shortcuts and other keyboard prompts.

There are many programs and platforms that also allow for customizable keyboard shortcuts within them. We'll cover a few of the most popular in the sections that follow.

How to Create Your Own Legal Symbol Keyboard Shortcuts in Word

If you typically use Microsoft Word, you can create your own legal symbol keyboard shortcuts through the following steps:

1.   Open the Insert tab. You can find this at the top row of settings in your document.

2.   Click Symbol > More Symbols. This opens a dialogue box.

3.   Find your desired character. Look for the character you want to be able to reproduce. When you find it, click the “Shortcut Key” button.

4.   Enter a unique key combination. Now, you'll get the opportunity to enter a unique key combination you want to be associated with this symbol. This is what you're going to type whenever you want the symbol in your document. Make sure you create a sequence that's short, as well as easy to remember, and verify that it's not being used for any other shortcut purposes. It’s a good idea to consult this guide on existing keyboard shortcuts in Word to make sure you don’t overwrite anything that’s important (or anything that might be useful in the future).

5.   Click “Assign” to save. When you're done, click “Assign.”

How to Create Your Own Legal Symbol Keyboard Shortcuts on Mac

There is no global system for creating keyboard shortcuts in Windows, but there is on Mac. In this system, you'll be replacing sections of text as you type them, much like how the autocorrect function works.

Here's how to get started:

1.   Open System Preferences. If you aren't sure where to find it, simply search for it.

2.   Open the Keyboard section. This is where you'll be creating all your shortcuts.

3.   Click on the Text tab. Once you open this section, you'll see all existing shortcuts currently associated with your profile.

4.   Click “+” to add the text you’re going to replace. Start by entering the text you want to be replaced. Create a unique string of characters, so you don't accidentally produce a legal symbol when typing something else.

5.   Paste your desired symbol into the With column. When satisfied, paste your desired symbol into the “With” column, in the same row as your replacement text.

How to Create Your Own Legal Symbol Keyboard Shortcuts on iPhone

The process for creating your own legal symbol shortcuts on iPhone is very similar:

1.   Open General Settings. Start by opening the Settings menu.

2.   Go to the Keyboard section. Enter the Keyboard section.

3.   Click “Text Replacement.” This opens a similar section to the one you’ll find on Mac devices.

4.   Click “+” to add the text you’re going to replace. Again, you'll start by entering the text you want to serve as your shortcut. Make it totally unique so you don't replace text accidentally in the future.

5.   Paste your desired symbol into the Phrase field. Finish by pasting your desired legal symbol into the Phrase field.

6.   Click “Save.” Save when you’re all finished.

How to Create Your Own Legal Symbol Keyboard Shortcuts on Android

Android devices have a bit more variability, but you can usually create your own legal symbol keyboard shortcuts with the following steps.

Note that you can also get access to more symbols and more shortcuts by downloading alternate keyboards when available.

1.   Head to Settings > System > Language & Input > Virtual Keyboard. This will take you to the Virtual Keyboard area.

2.   Choose “Gboard.” Select “Gboard.” It will become your default keyboard if it isn't already.

3.   Click “Dictionary,” then “Personal dictionary.” Here, you'll be able to customize a personal library of terms and shortcuts.

4.   Click “+.” This will create a new keyboard shortcut.

5.   Paste your desired symbol. Start by pasting the legal symbol for which you want a keyboard shortcut.

6.   Type your desired shortcut text. Finish by typing the text you want to be associated with this legal symbol. As usual, you’ll need to make sure this selection of text isn’t associated with other words or functions.

Committing Legal Symbol Keyboard Shortcuts to Memory

The final step is to put your new keyboard shortcuts into action! It may take some effort to recall and manually type your shortcut the first few times, but with even some deliberate repetition, you can commit your shortcut to memory and type it as fluidly as any common word in the English language.

Improving Productivity as a Lawyer

With these strategies, you should be able to create convenient, easily memorable keyboard shortcuts for all your legal symbols.

But it's not the only way to save time and increase productivity as a lawyer.

We'd argue it's not even the best way to save time and increase productivity as a lawyer.

For that, the best option available is legal AI.

Yes, legal AI isn't perfect, and no, you can't use it for literally everything.

But in the right hands, it can save you hundreds of hours and countless unnecessary headaches.

Want to learn more?

Check out our free demo here!


Samuel Edwards

Chief Marketing Officer

Samuel Edwards is CMO of and its associated agency. Since 2012, Sam has worked with some of the largest law firms around the globe. Today, Sam works directly with high-end law clients across all verticals to maximize operational efficiency and ROI through artificial intelligence. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.

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