A reader recently asked how to use a degree symbol on macOS (OS X). Fortunately, typing a degree symbol on your Mac on macOS is as easy as typing on your iOS phone, which allows you to properly express both math and increasingly unstable weather.

There are two ways to enter the degree symbol in macOS, and both of them are system level functions, which means that they will work in any application on your Mac at almost any time (with some exceptions for protected text input fields).

But don’t worry, all of the most common applications in which you want to enter a degree symbol are supported, including web browsers, MacOS messages, Skype, email clients, and even journal applications such as the popular Day One

Degree symbol from the special character menu

You can insert a degree character (among many other characters) using the special character menu, now called the Emoji & Symbols menu in later versions of macOS, including macOS Mojave.

To access it, place the cursor where you want to insert the degree symbol, and then go to Edit> Special characters (or Edit> Emoji and characters ) in the menu bar. Alternatively, you can use the Control-Command-Space keyboard shortcut on your Mac keyboard.

A new window will appear displaying a series of special characters, characters and, for Yosemite, Emoji. Instead of manually viewing hundreds of available characters, simply enter “degree” in the search field to display the available degree characters.

As you can see in the screenshot above (based on OS X Yosemite 10.10.2), you have a choice of three options for degree symbols: one for degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius and a simple degree symbol. Just double-click on the character you want to paste it at the current location of the mouse cursor or trackpad. Frequently used symbols and symbols will be displayed under the search box, which will save you a little time in the future.

Keyboard Shortcut Key

The Special Characters menu described above gives you hundreds of useful characters, characters, and emoticons to choose from, but if you just need a simple degree symbol, this is not the fastest option. Instead, let’s use a keyboard shortcut.

While typing, hover over the place where you want to insert the degree symbol. Then use one of the following keyboard shortcuts:

Shift-Option-8: This key combination inserts the correct degree symbol (i.e., 72 °);
Option-K: This key combination inserts a small degree symbol, very similar to the actual degree symbol, but smaller (i.e., 72˚)

We are not sure if there is any significant difference between the symbols of large and small degree, when they are used in meteorological or mathematical contexts, but using any of them will most likely help you with this (see Note below). It should be noted that when using the special character menu approach described in the section above, a larger character is inserted.

How To Find The IPhone Degree Symbol On The IOS Virtual Keyboard

When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, he lauded the device’s virtual keyboard as superior to then-prevalent physical keyboards thanks to its ability to dynamically change based on the needs of software. But just because the iPhone’s virtual keyboard is flexible, it doesn’t mean that certain symbols aren’t hard to find.
Once such example is the degree symbol, which is particularly relevant considering the crazy state of weather in recent months. While some apps, especially weather and math-based apps, put the degree symbol front and center, the standard iPhone keyboard layout hides it without much indication of where to find it.
To find the iPhone degree symbol, launch any app that brings up the virtual keyboard. Tap on the 123 modifier to bring up the numeric and symbols keyboard and tap and hold on the 0 (zero). After a brief delay, a pop-up will appear allowing you to choose the degree symbol. While continuing to hold, simply slide your finger or thumb over to the degree symbol until it’s highlighted in blue. Release to insert the symbol at your cursor’s location.
Note that while our screenshot demonstrates this feature in iOS 7, the degree symbol can be found via the same method on all supported versions of iOS and on all iDevices, including the iPad and iPod touch.