Many mathematical symbols, such as the square root sign, are not available in an ordinary computer keyboard. Fortunately, there are several ways to type the square root symbol via a keyboard shortcut. Some applications such as Microsoft Word also allow you to insert the symbol with just a few clicks of the mouse.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the square root is a factor of a number that gives the original number when multiplied by itself. For instance, both 4 and -4 are square roots of 16, because the squares of 4 and -4 are 16.
The square root symbol is also called the radical sign or radix. Just like the squared symbol, the square root sign is often difficult to encode because of its absence in physical keyboards. Those who want to type the symbol must know the correct keyboard shortcut or use the Character Map utility of Windows.
Whether you are a math student or simply someone who wants to use the square root symbol, you’ll be delighted to know that there are several ways to type or insert the symbol in Windows, Mac and Android.
How to Type the Square Root Symbol Using Keyboard Shortcut
On a Windows computer, you can type the square root sign using a combination of keys on your keyboard. The keyboard shortcut for the square root symbol is Alt + 251.
Before you type the symbol using your keyboard, make sure that the numeric keypad or number pad is active by tapping the Num Lock key. The numeric keypad is the set of keys usually located on the rightmost part of the Windows keyboard. Some keyboards have LED lights that indicate that the number pad is active.
To type the square root symbol using your keyboard, hold down the Alt key and then type 251 on the numeric keypad. The result is this: √.
How to Type the Square Root Symbol in Microsoft Word
If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can type the square root symbol in your document using the keyboard shortcut previously mentioned. However, there is an easy way to insert the symbol on the application itself.
To start, click the Insert tab in the Microsoft Word menu.
Find the Symbols section (located on the right) and click Symbol. A dropdown menu will appear with your recently used symbols. If you can’t find the square root sign there, click More Symbols.
You’ve now launched the Symbols dialog containing all the signs and symbols you can insert in Word. You can find the square root symbol more easily by selecting “Mathematical Operators” on the Subset dropdown field.
After locating the square root sign, click the √ symbol to highlight it. Check that you selected the correct symbol by looking at its Unicode name which is “Square Root.”
Finally, click Insert to insert the symbol into your Word document.
The square root sign will now be in your recently used symbols in Word. So the next time you want to insert the symbol, just click Insert and then Symbol, and you will be able to insert it quickly into your document.
How to Insert the Symbol Using Character Map
For Windows users without a number pad on their keyboards, there is an alternative way to type the square root symbol. Using the Character Map application of Windows, you can choose from hundreds of symbols to insert into your document or application.
Launch the Character Map application by clicking the Start icon on the bottom-left corner of the Windows desktop screen. Click Windows Accessories and then Character Map.
The Character Map will now show all the characters that you can copy into the clipboard. The square root symbol can be quite difficult to find, but you can make it easier by searching for it. Check the “Advanced view” box and then enter square root into the “Search for:” field. This will instantly show the square root sign.
Click the √ symbol to highlight it, and then click the Select button. Click Copy to copy the symbol to your clipboard. You can now paste (Ctrl + V) the square root symbol into your document or application.
How to Type the Square Root Symbol in Mac
Typing the square root sign in Mac computers is different from Windows. Mac users can type the symbol using the keyboard shortcut Option + V. Tap the Option key and the V key at the same time to type the symbol in Mac.
How to Type the Square Root Symbol in Android
The square root symbol is available in the stock Android keyboard Gboard. Some Android keyboards like the Samsung virtual keyboard may not have this symbol; you can copy the √ symbol here instead and paste it to your mobile application.
To type the square root symbol on your Android smartphone, switch to the symbols keypad by tapping ?123 and =\<. The square root sign is located on the top row. Just tap the √ key to insert the symbol.
You’ve just learned how to type the square root symbol on your computer or mobile phone. If you have trouble using any of the aforementioned methods, you can take the easy way out by copying the symbol here: √ and then pasting it into your document. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C to copy the symbol and then Ctrl + V to paste it into your document. Good luck!