How do HTML Symbols for Characters Work?

When creating an HTML web page, you might need special characters from time to time to clarify or HTML symbolsenhance your text. But what do you do when the special characters aren’t on your keyboard?

Well in web designing, HTML symbols are used to create characters on a web page.

Here’s how it works.

What are Characters?

These are special items often used in reports for measurements, clarification, mathematical examples, etc. They include Greek characters, technical shapes and symbols, math symbols, etc.

There are many of them, so we won’t explain them all. Here are a few you might recognize:

  • equal sign
  • greater / less than symbols
  • check mark
  • square root
  • bullet points
  • arrows
  • carriage return arrow
  • trademark
  • copyright
  • euro
  • percentile
  • heart
  • diamond
  • and sum.

You will not find keys for these characters on the average keyboard, so they have to be coded into your web page code a certain way, using special HTML symbols.

Similar to HTML Color Codes

The symbols or entity numbers for characters look similar to HTML color codes. For example, the entity number for square root is the following (without quotes):

√

You’ll type the entity number or symbol directly into your HTML code where it belongs on a page.

The HTML symbol will be converted to that particular character so viewers will see the actual character on your web page.

There are also entity names that can be used instead of the entity number. For example, the entity name for the square root is the following (without quotes):

√

When using entity names, keep in mind that these are case sensitive. If you type a lower case letter as a capitalized letter, the symbol will not work, or vice versa.

What about WYSIWYG Web Design Software?

html symbols for websites

If using a web design software program, the program might have the HTML symbols for characters already programmed into the software.

You can merely select the character you want from a list and insert it directly onto your web page without typing any code.

This makes it easy to access characters so you can enhance your pages and create a professional look and feel.

If you’re considering web design classes online and feel you’ll be using characters quite a bit on your web pages, then ask if the class will be teaching this aspect of design.

If not, you can look up character lists with HTML symbols to bookmark for future use.

It’s easy to add characters once you have a list and know how and where to insert the entity numbers or names.

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Filed under: Web Design