Tag Archives: statistics font

Typing x-bar, y-bar, p-hat, q-hat, and all that! In Microsoft Word (& Excel)

This is how ILLUMINATED I felt when I figured out how to type statistical symbols in MS Word... the temple at Burning Man 2014. Image Credit: John David Tupper (photographerinfocus.com)

This is how ILLUMINATED I felt when I figured out how to type statistical symbols in MS Word… the temple at Burning Man 2014. Image Credit: John David Tupper (photographerinfocus.com)

I use Microsoft Word to prepare documents. I do not like Microsoft Equation Editor. And I have to type equations and expressions not often (like every sentence or every other sentence), but definitely regularly. This has led me to apply what I like to call “agile shortcuts” — basically, I’ll write down the equation in my own handwriting, take a picture of it, and then use a paint program to crop and clean up my equation before inserting it into my document. This works nicely, and even though some people might think it’s a kludge, I kind of like the ability to retain the personality of my own handwriting in my technical documents.

However, I don’t want to be embedding images if all I have to do is make reference to a variable within a paragraph of text… and I’ve never had a good solution. UNTIL THIS MORNING when I really, really, really wanted to be able to use y-bar and p-hat in my paragraph, without having to do the even kludgier thing where you just call them “y-bar” and “p-hat” in the text. That doesn’t feel good.

Even Arial Unicode MS, the behemoth of fonts (it even contains tons of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters) does not have essential statistical symbols. But turns out, it DOES have this very useful capability called “combining diacritics” — and here’s how you can use it to type characters with their own hats and bars on them.

How to Do It

  1. Open up Microsoft Word
  2. Choose “Arial Unicode MS” as your font
  3. First, type in a letter that you want to adorn with a hat. Say, for example, p.
  4. Next, go to Insert -> Symbol, drop down to “More Symbols”, and in the window that pops up, make sure you have selected “Arial Unicode MS” as the font. In the bottom right, you’ll see a text area and a dropdown. To the right of the text area labeled “Character code:” type in 0302. That’s the code for a hat-on-top-of-a-letter. Going further right, there’s a dropdown that says “from:” and you’ll want to make sure that you see “Unicode (hex)” selected in that box. Click “Insert”.
  5. Voila, your p has a hat!! Now, type a few spaces and let’s do this again.
  6. Only now, type in a letter that you want to adorn with a bar. Say, for example, x.
  7. Next, go to Insert -> Symbol, drop down to “More Symbols”, and in the window that pops up, make sure you have selected “Arial Unicode MS” as the font. In the bottom right, you’ll see a text area and a dropdown. To the right of the text area labeled “Character code:” type in 0305. That’s the code for a bar-on-top-of-a-letter. Going further right, there’s a dropdown that says “from:” and you’ll want to make sure that you see “Unicode (hex)” selected in that box. Click “Insert”.
  8. Voila again! Your x has a bar.

Go forth into the world and enjoy the same liberation I have just felt… o, ye writers of statistical stuff in documents.

Even Easier – Cut and Paste from Here:

p̂             q̂             x̅              y̅