How much of your day would you estimate is devoted to drafting legal documents? This process can be time-consuming and tedious, and one of the most tedious parts may be looking up all the legal symbols you have to use. If you’ve ever wished you could get a keyboard with a section symbol, a paragraph symbol, and a copyright symbol on it, read on.

Although there may not be a keyboard with legal symbols on it, did you know that you can use keyboard shortcuts to get these symbols? Below, we’ll walk you through the top legal symbol keyboard shortcuts you should know and even how you can set them up on your phone.

How Keyboard Shortcuts Work

Keyboard shortcuts are specific keystrokes you can use to accomplish semi-complicated tasks that you have to use a lot. You may already be familiar with the keyboard shortcuts for copying text (Ctrl/Command+C), pasting text (Ctrl/Command+V), or undoing a task (Ctrl/Command+Z). In the case of most keyboard shortcuts, you press the keys listed at the same time, and most involve either the control button if you’re on a PC or the command button if you’re on a Mac.

There are also a number of keyboard shortcuts you can use for various tasks on your computer. For instance:

  • To print – Ctrl/Command+P
  • To make text bold – Ctrl/Command+B
  • To make text italics – Ctrl/Command+I
  • To make text underlined – Ctrl/Command+U
  • To cut text – Ctrl/Command+X
  • To find a specific word in text – Ctrl/Command+F
  • To save your document – Ctrl/Command+S
  • To select all the text in a document – Ctrl/Command+A

These shortcuts can make your computer work much faster, but there are also a number of shortcuts that are specifically helpful for legal writing.

Why Use Keyboard Shortcuts?

You may be looking at the list of shortcuts above and wondering if it’s even worth it to memorize all those codes. But using keyboard shortcuts can have a number of benefits.

  • Greater efficiency – Stopping your work to navigate up to a menu, select the symbol you need, insert it, and then navigate back to your spot to resume typing takes a lot of time. Knowing these shortcuts can drastically cut down the amount of time you spend drafting documents.
  • Fewer mistakes – There are a lot of things in the sequence we just listed that can go wrong. Using shortcuts can streamline the process and help ensure you wind up with fewer mistakes in your legal documents.
  • Fewer formatting challenges – You may wonder why you can’t just copy the symbols you need and paste them where you need them. But if you have different formatting throughout the document, pasting the symbol in can cause problems. Using the shortcuts ensures that your symbol is formatted correctly when you drop it in.

Although it may take a little extra effort at first, the longer you use these shortcuts, the more second-nature it will become for you.

In addition to the all-purpose keyboard shortcuts we discussed above, there are some keyboard shortcuts that you can use to get the legal symbols you may use frequently in your professional writing.


The section (or silcrow) symbol looks like two S’s stacked on top of each other (§) and may be used in legal citations. If you’re on a PC, you can get this symbol by holding down the alt key and typing 0167. If you’re on a Mac, you can press Option+6.


The paragraph symbol (or pilcrow) looks like a backward uppercase P with two lines (¶) and may be used to cite a specific paragraph of another legal document. On a PC, you’ll need to hold down the alt key and type 0182. On a Mac, you can press Option+7.

The copyright symbol looks like a small c inside a circle (©) and is an important part of copyright law documents. If you use a PC, you’ll need to hold down the alt key and type 0169. If you use a Mac, you can type Option+g.


The trademark symbol looks like a small capital TM in superscript text (™) and, like the copyright symbol, is an important part of copyright and trademark law. Your computer may have an autocorrect feature that automatically converts “TM” to the trademark symbol. Alternatively, if you’re on a PC, you can hold down the alt key and type 0153, or on a Mac, you can type Option+2.

Registered Trademark

The registered trademark symbol looks like a capital R inside a circle (®) and is likewise used in copyright and trademark law. If you use a PC, you’ll need to hold down the alt key and type 0174. On a Mac, you can type Option+r.


If you work with plaintiffs, you may choose to replace the word “plaintiff” with a symbol in some of your writing. The plaintiff symbol looks like the Greek letter pi (π). On a PC, you’ll need to hold down the alt key and type 227. On a Mac, you can type Option+p.


Likewise, you may choose to replace the word “defendant” with the Greek letter delta (∆) in some legal documents. If you work on a PC, you’ll need to hold down the alt key and type 30. If you work on a Mac, you can type Option+j.

How to Make Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

Depending on the area of law you’re in, you may have to commonly use symbols we haven’t mentioned here. The good news is that you can create your own keyboard shortcuts

If you use Microsoft Word, navigate to the “Insert” menu and select “Advanced Symbol”. This will open a dialogue box where you can select the special character you need. At the bottom of the box, you’ll see a button labeled “Keyboard Shortcut” that will open a new dialogue box. In this new box, type the shortcut you want to use into the “Press new keyboard shortcut” dialogue box. Then hit the “Assign” button.

If you’re working on a Mac, you can also set up auto replacement settings for certain things (for instance, replacing “omw” with “On my way!”). To do this, open System Preferences, navigate to the Keyboard settings, and select “Text replacements”. Press the plus sign at the bottom left, and then designate what you’d like to type in and what you’d like it to be replaced with. Hit “Add” and you’ll be all set. Note that you may need to paste in a special character from a different source.

Keyboard Shortcuts on Mobile

In our on-the-go world, you may wind up working on your phone from time to time. Did you know that you can get the unusual symbols you need on your phone, too? For instance, to get the section symbol, hold down the ampersand symbol and select the silcrow symbol. 

You can also build in text replacement options that work similarly to those on your computer. On an iPhone, start by finding the symbol you need and copying it onto your clipboard. Then navigate to the “Keyboard” section of your settings (you’ll find it under the “General” settings menu) and select “Text Replacement.” Click the plus sign at the top right and paste the symbol you want in the “Phrase” field. Then put the shortcut you want to use to get that symbol in the “Shortcut” field and press “Save.”

If you use a Samsung Android, you’ll need to navigate to the Settings menu, select “General Management”, and then select “Samsung Keyboard Settings.” From there, navigate to “Text shortcuts” and hit the plus sign at the top left. Paste the symbol you want to use into the “Shortcut” field and then type the phrase you want to type into the “Expanded phrase” field. Press “Add” and you’ll be ready to go.

Streamline Your Document Management Process

Document management is already time-consuming enough; there’s no reason for you to spend even more time navigating through stacks of menus to get the symbols you need. Keyboard shortcuts can make your work a lot more accurate and efficient. And you can even set up keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols on your phone if needed!

If you’re looking for other ways to give your firm a boost, LawRank is here to help. We provide legal marketing that works, including SEO for lawyers, PPC, web design, and more. Contact us today to start getting honesty, transparency, and results from your digital marketing firm.