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Common Keyboard Symbols


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Number Sign # (Pound Sign, Hash)
Number sign, pound sign, hash

Examples of the number sign in different fonts. In lower right, the sharp sign which looks very similar to the number or pound sign.

© J. Bear
The symbol # is known as the number sign or the pound sign (not to be confused with the Pound symbol denoting currency) or hash in various countries.

On a phone keypad it is known as the pound key (US) or hash key in most English-speaking countries.

When # precedes a number it is number as in #1 (number 1). When it follows a number it is pound (unit of weight) as in 3# (three pounds) (primarily US).

Other names for the # include hex and octothorp. # may be used in computing programming, math, Web pages (such as shorthand for the permalink of a blog or to denote a special tag such as the hashtag on Twitter), chess, and copywriting. Three pound signs (###) often denotes "the end" in press releases or typed manuscripts.

On standard US keyboards the # key is Shift+3. It may be in other locations in other countries. Mac: Option+3. Windows: ALT+35

Although the musical notation for sharp (♯) looks similar, it is not the same as the number sign. The number sign generally consists of 2 (usually) horizontal lines and 2 forward slashes. Whereas, the sharp is 2 vertical lines and 2 tilted lines so that it appears to be leaning back to the left while the number sign is more upright or leaning to the right.

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