How to Type Degree Temperature Symbol in Mac OS X

Dec 12, 2009 - 32 Comments

Type degree symbol in Mac OS X

Ever wondered how to type the temperature / degree symbol in Mac OS? Typing the degrees symbol on a Mac, or any computer, may seem like a giant mystery since it’s not immediately visible on any keyboard, but it’s really quite easy if you know the proper keyboard shortcut.

There are actually two keyboard shortcuts for typing degree signs in MacOS and Mac OS X, and you can insert the degree temperature symbol into any Mac OS X app where your cursor is located by hitting one of the the following keystroke commands, depending on which symbol you want to show:

Typing the Degree Symbols on Mac

  • Option+Shift+8 produces one like this: Temperature Symbol: 85°
  • Option+K types a symbol like this: Degree Symbol: 24˚

These keystrokes are universal and supported by everywhere you can type in Mac OS X, it doesn’t matter what app you’re in on the Mac. As long as there is a text entry point, you can type the degree symbol, be it in Pages, Messages, Word, Safari, Chrome, or any other text editor or word processor.

How to Type the Temperature / Degree Symbol on Mac

To try this out yourself, open any Mac app where you can type, like Messages, Notes, TextEdit, Pages, Microsoft Office.

  1. Open an app where you can type on the Mac, for example “TextEdit”, “Messages”, or “Pages”
  2. Place your mouse cursor so that you can type into a text entry position as usual
  3. Press either of the keyboard shortcuts to type out the degree temperature symbol:
    • Option + K
    • Option + Shift + 8

That’s it, you can use either keyboard shortcut to type the temperature degree symbol. Personally I usually use Option + Shift + 8 because that is what I tend to remember the easiest, but use which works for you.

Type the degree symbol on Mac

By the way, you can also type the degree symbol in iOS on your iPhone or iPad with a little keyboard trick too.

This is simple stuff though right? Well, I just got an email from a relative who was clearly very frustrated that they couldn’t figure out how to type the degree temperature symbol in Mac OS X. I laughed about it for a second but then realized I’ve been asked this question a few times before especially from recent switchers, so clearly some of the simple things just need a simple explanation. Happy temperature telling, and enjoy your weather whatever it is!

What’s the Difference Between the 3 Degree Symbols on Mac?

You may notice there are two keyboard shortcuts and each of the two temperature symbols are slightly different, but I couldn’t tell you why or what for (perhaps one for celsius, fahrenheit, and kelvin?), so some people just use which ever one they want, or maybe whatever symbol is easier to remember with the keystroke. Interestingly, if you run the text-to-speech engine on the Mac over both of the degree symbols, the OS identifies both as “degrees” with no differentiation between the two. Perhaps the difference is only visible, with one degree symbol being slightly smaller than the other. But aside from that, if it’s 35˚ outside, now you can tell someone without typing out the full word ‘degrees’, and that’s a bonus, right?

Getting technical however, there are differences between the three symbols which look like a degree symbol for temperature, whether that is fahrenheit, celsius, or kelvin, as typed on a Mac keyboard. Though they look the same, they’re actually different symbols entirely and thus three ways to type it for a reason. Here they are explained courtesy of @thg in the comments:

  • Option + Shift + 8 is Degree for Temperature like °
  • Option + k is (spacing) Ring Above diacritic like ˚
  • Option + 0 is the the Masculine Ordinal Indicator used in some languages (has a line under it in some fonts) like º

Thus you technically would want to use Option + Shift + 8 for degrees relating to temperature, but visually the other symbols look quite similar even if they are different. And again, if you run text-to-speech on the Mac with those symbols, all are identified and spoken as ‘degrees’ which makes that an interesting thing to note.

And if you know of any other method of typing out the degree symbol in Mac OS, share it with us in the comments below!


Related articles:

Posted by: David Mendez in How to, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Laura says:

    Awesome…I have to look this up every time I need it! Option+Shift+k was working just fine, then a strange thing happened. Option+Shift+k now gives me the Apple apple . What Happened??!!??

    • OPT no says:

      Option Shift K is how you type the Apple logo 

      Option Shift 8 is how you type degree °

      This is on standard US English keyboard.

  2. Francis says:

    Thank you! :)

  3. Samveg says:


  4. Seth Nickeson says:

    For some reason, Apple has changed Edit>Special Characters… to the awkward and hard-to-remember Ctrl-Cmd-Space (⌃⌘Space)

  5. Ron Fontes says:

    “Simple?” Not if you don’t spend all your time futzing around with the computer. It doesn’t come with a manual and the “Help” feature is really not very helpful; that is, it doesn’t always have all the answers.

  6. Egil says:

    On danish keyboards its:
    shift+option+w = ˚
    shift+option+’ = º

  7. Characters in Unicode do have a meaning and whilst they may render similarly on your screen another person may perceive them differently.

    Look at

    which makes it clear that °ª are made to be seen as a pair. They are used in Spanish where instead of 3rd (“third”) one says 3ª (“tercera”) and instead of 1st one says 1° (“primero”).

    You can also tell if you’ve used the correct degree symbol because HTML will render it as °.

  8. Karin says:

    Very helpful. Not all sites that try to solve this problem actually provide the correct solution for Mac OS X. Thanks!

  9. […] looking for solutions on how to type the degree symbol (like in 0°) on OSX, but could only find solutions for English keyboard layout (or solutions suggesting copying an image…). After some trial and […]

  10. michael says:

    it might be slightly off-topic, but is there a shortcut for the “square” symbol too? til now I had a workaround to the job for me (quicksilver, copy-paste the character).. if you need m², cm², x² … a lot a “native” osx key-combo would be fine (for 3 as well?).

    thanks in advance.


  11. Pascal (Former  IS&T France) says:

    One could also use system preferences/international/input menu/”show input menu” checked.
    after that, you will see a new icon on the menu bar (top right side of the screen), which allows you to type many special characters depending on your country, keyboard etc

  12. Tony says:

    And there’s always Edit->Special Characters (⌥⌘T) and Search for degree:


  13. Mike says:

    Title’s wrong again. Should be: “How to type Degree Temperature Symbol on a US qwerty keyboard”

  14. ChillyWilly says:

    º˚øØ°• lots of weird symbols, lol, i dont know what any of these are! temperatures? are they farhenheit vs celcius vs kelvin temperature? why so many symbols?

    the funny thing is on a PC in windows i dont have ANY idea how to make ANY symbols! so much easier on a mac, everything is.

    • James says:

      On a PC, ‘charmap’ is a utility that shows the mappings for an given font, the reference being arial for double-byte fonts.

      hold alt + 0176 on the keypad and you get character 176, which is a degree symbol.

      Mac OSX has a character pallette – cmd+opt+T, but it’s light on the keystroke details you need for a given character. You can copy characters, though.

  15. erik says:

    I prefer option+0 (zero) = º like in 5ºC

  16. Cintra says:

    On a Norwegian keyboard the following apply:
    2° = option shift q
    5˚ = option shift å
    0º = option shift k


  17. Sepp says:

    Isn’t there a list of most special characters for each keyboard layout somewhere at

    • megaRa24 says:

      YEAH, good point, I want a list as well…
      but as no-one posted it after 18 months there probably is no list like that… 8(

      • Jody says:

        I just went through the keyboard on my mac and made myself a list by doing option and key, then option/shift/key and put them on the Mac Notes app listed “Shortcuts”

  18. thg says:

    These are really not the same.

    Option + Shift + 8 is Degree
    Option + k is (spacing) Ring Above diacritic
    Option + 0 is the the Masculine Ordinal Indicator (has a line under it in some fonts)

  19. Max says:

    The correct degree sign is Option+Shift+8.
    Option+K makes a diacritic “ring above” character, and Option-0 makes a “masculine ordinal indicator”.
    Although there are similarities between these symbols, there are differences as well. And of course they all have different meanings ;)

  20. option + 0 is the EASIEST. please update.

  21. Fábio says:

    You can use Option + 0 too.

    • Jesse says:

      not the same thing. go ahead and type it into your browsers address bar for comparison;


Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site