Unlike LaTeX, MS Word lacks the mechanism to input various special symbols. One of the important mechanisms for inserting symbols is via Dingbat fonts such as Wingdings. These fonts map ASCII characters into glyphs. Another, in my opinion, more reliable way of doing so is by inserting UNICODE symbols.

There are two ways to insert such symbols. First, you can use Alt+X and edit the Hexadecimal code. Alternatively, use can type in the Decimal code on the numeric keypad (with NUM LOCK on) while holding the Alt key. Detailed explanation can be found on the Microsoft supporting website.

However, as for other Microsoft Office components such as PowerPoint and Excel, the Hax code does not work. You can still use the Dec code.

Here is a collection of most used symbols and their encodings.

Symbol Hex Code Dec Code Note
© 00A9 0169 Copyright
° 00B0 0176 Degree
µ 00B5 0181 Micro sign
× 00D7 0215 Multiplication sign
α 03B1 0945 Greek alpha
β 03B2 0946 Greek beta
γ 03B3 0947 Greek gamma
2013 8211 En dash, LaTeX --
2014 8212 Em dash, LaTeX ---
2103 8451 Degree Celsius
212B 8491 Angstrom
22C5 8901 Dot Operator
2212 8722 Minus sign *
2611 9745 Checked box
2713 10003 Check mark
2717 10007 Ballot cross mark

* In many situations, it is encouraged to use hyphen (-) directly as the minus sign.