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What are all the symbols used by computers?

Computer symbolsThere are thousands of symbols used by computers today to represent a function, specification, certification, company, or warning. For example, one of the most recognizable symbols is an almost full circle with a vertical line at the top that indicates power. On this page, we show over 100 different symbols used with computers and electronics with a brief description of what each symbol means.

If you know the category of the symbol you are looking for, use any of the links below. Otherwise, scroll down through all symbols on this page to find your symbol or find a similar symbol.

Note: Most symbols are not standardized which means the symbols shown below may not match your software program or hardware device. However, these symbols should be close enough to what you are looking for that you can identify the meaning of each symbol.

Tip: In many computer software programs you can hover the mouse pointer over the symbol to get a balloon tip of what the symbol is supposed to represent.

General symbols
Keyboard symbols
Power symbols
Audio and sound symbols
Display symbols
Drive symbols
Network, Wireless, and Internet symbols
Hardware device and port symbols
E-mail symbols
Navigation symbols
Image editor symbols
Warning and caution symbols
Packaging symbols

General symbols

 A question mark symbol represents a question and allows you to access help or online documentation.

 A light bulb icon symbol represents a tip or an idea. For example, on this page, we have several tips that can be quickly identified with the light bulb next to the word "Tip."

 The gear symbol indicates a configuration or settings option. For example, many programs use a gear icon for buttons that allow you to adjust a program's settings. Online services may use a gear icon for the area that lets you change your account settings.

 A symbol with a wrench or a wrench and screwdriver is another symbol that can be used in place of the gear to indicate an area to adjust the settings or other options.

 A speech bubble symbol is used in communications to indicate there is a message that needs to be read or that someone is typing a message. For example, on an iPhone the Messages icon and each of its messages uses the speech bubble symbol and when someone is typing a speech bubble with three periods is shown.

 The check mark symbol indicates completion or that something is ok. For example, a download dialog box may show a green check mark when the download is complete.

 A plus symbol or a horizontal line crossing a vertical line is also a symbol used as an indication to increase, add, move down, or zoom in on software programs and hardware devices.

 A minus symbol or a horizontal line is a symbol used as an indication for decreasing, removing, moving up, or zooming out on software programs and hardware devices. On a Microsoft Windows keyboard, the minus or underscore is also shown on the top right-hand side of a window to represent the minimize feature.

 A circle with a line through it is a symbol that represents cancel or stop and may be over the top of another symbol. For example, a speaker symbol with this over it indicates mute.

Tip: This symbol may also be represented by an X.

 Three arrows going around a triangle is a symbol that represents recycle or recycling. Anything with this symbol that is not crossed out should be recycled.

 A symbol with a series of boxes and jagged lines with boxes in the corners like that shown here is a QR Code and used to store information for scanning. For example, you could scan the QR code shown here to open the Computer Hope web page. Similar markings could also be a matrix code or a bar code.

 A padlock symbol is used to represent when anything is locked or secure. For example, a keyboard key with a lock can give you the option to lock the computer.

 A calendar icon is used to represent an option that allows the user to view a calendar, view date related information, or schedule an event

 The thumbtack symbol is used to represent the ability to pin an object to the screen. For example, with web applications and some web pages, you may be able to pin individual elements you enjoy viewing to the top of a page for quick viewing.

 A symbol of a folder represents an area capable of storing other files and folders on a computer.

 A symbol of a trash can or a recycle bin is a symbol used to represent deleting a file or another object on the computer and may be a container for any deleted items.

 The fire symbol can have many different meanings when used on a computer, software program, or an Internet web page. The first meaning is that the item is hot and could mean that it is critical, important, or popular and should be looked at first. In some e-mail programs and services the fire symbol represents Junk and is a location where all spam and other junk e-mails are stored.

 A C with a circle surrounding it is used to represent a copyright. For example, at the bottom of many web pages (including this page) the copyright symbol or (c) may be shown to indicate the content on the page is copyrighted.

 An R with a circle surrounding it is used to represent a registered mark. For example, this mark may be seen by a company logo or brand name that is a registered mark.

 A TM with a circle surrounding it or just TM by itself is used to represent a trademark.

Keyboard symbols

Tip: Some keyboard keys with symbols may require you to press an additional key to be pressed such as the Fn key.

 A symbol of a rectangular box filled with other small solid boxes with a line coming out of the top is used to represent a computer keyboard.

 On the keyboard LEDs, a square with a number "1" on it is an indicator for the Num Lock on some keyboards.

 On the keyboard LEDs, a square with a letter "A" on it is an indicator for the Caps Lock on some keyboards.

 On the keyboard LEDs, an arrow pointing down to a horizontal line is an indicator for the Scroll Lock on some keyboards.

 A single line arrow pointing back on the keyboard can be a symbol used for the backspace or a delete key on an Apple computer.

 The backspace or erase to the left button may also be represented by the symbol of a box arrow pointing to the left containing an X.

 An arrow pointing to the right, down, and then to the left or just down and to the left is a symbol used to represent the Enter key and most keyboards.

 An empty arrow pointing up that also resembles a house is a symbol used to represent the Shift key on computer keyboards.

 A single arrow pointing to the right and to a line that may also have another arrow beneath it that points to the left and a line is a Tab key.

 On a Microsoft Windows keyboard, a key with the Windows flag is the Windows key. On the right-hand side of the keyboard, the Menu key is also next to the Windows key.

 An Apple keyboard key with four circles that interconnect is known as the Command key on the keyboard and is used with other keys on the keyboard.

 An Apple keyboard key with a backslash and small line in the top right corner is the Option key on the keyboard and is used with other keys on the keyboard.

Tip: For the meaning of more character symbols like (!, @, #, $, %, &, etc.) see the computer keyboard keys explanations page.

Mouse symbols

 A symbol of a computer mouse with two buttons and sometimes a mouse wheel is a symbol used to indicate a mouse setting or a port that allows supports a mouse connection.

 A rectangular box with either one box or two boxes at the bottom is a symbol to represent a touchpad on a laptop and may be next to a button that turns on and off the touchpad.

 An arrow pointing to the top left is a symbol that is often used to represent the mouse cursor. For example, a program may be able to switch between the mouse cursor to select items and the hand tool.

 An hourglass symbol is used in many programs to help indicate that the computer is working or something is loading. Many programs also rotate the hourglass as the computer works.

 A hand symbol is the hand tool that can be used to move objects or the page on the screen.

 The symbol of a hand pointing is used to represent a hyperlink. For example, in your browser, the mouse cursor changes from a pointer to a hand pointing when you hover over any link.

Power symbols

 As mentioned earlier the power button symbol is an almost full circle and a vertical line through the top of the circle. This symbol is used around any button that is used to turn on or off a device. The symbol represents a "0" (zero) and a "1" (one), which is the characters used in the computer's binary language and also represents off (0) and on (1).

 A power cable or plug symbol is used as an indication of where the power for the device should be plugged into the computer or another device. A lightning bolt may also represent a power connector port.

 Any lightning bolt symbol is used to indicate electricity or charging. For example, a single lighting bolt next to an indicator light indicates that the device is charging.

Tip: A lightning bolt may also represent the Apple Thunderbolt symbol.

 A long rectangle box with a smaller box on the right-hand side that may contain multiple other boxes is a symbol used to represent the batteries life. As you use your battery-powered device, the number of bars decreases to let you know how long your device will work without being charged or plugged into a power outlet.

Audio and sound symbols

 A speaker with sound waves coming from it is an indication of sound. For keyboard keys or options that allow sound to be adjusted a symbol with one or two waves is an indication of turning the volume down, three or four waves indicates turning the volume up on the computer

 A speaker icon with no waves, crossed out, or with an "x" next to it indicates mute or disabled.

 Two half circles connect with another half circle is a symbol that represents a pair of headphones and is found next to the headphone jack found on most electronic devices, computers, and phones.

 The microphone symbol is used on computer ports to indicate where a microphone is connected or any option or button that adjust the microphone.

 A single triangle that points to the right is the icon used to indicate the play button on audio and video media players.

 Two vertical lines is the universal symbol used for pause and is uses in audio and video media players to pause music and video.

 A solid small box is a symbol used to represent stop and is used in audio and video media players to stop music and video.

 Two triangles that point to the right is the symbol used to represent the fast forward function on audio and video media players.

 Two triangles that point to the left is the symbol used to represent the rewind function on audio and video media players.

 Two triangles that point to the right with a solid line on the right of them is used to represent a feature that skips a track or chapter.

 Two triangles that point to the left with a solid line on the left side of them is used to represent a function that goes back to the beginning of the track or chapter and if pressed twice goes back a track or chapter.

Display symbols

 The sun symbol is used for anything dealing with a display's brightness. For example, you may have two sun icons one that is smaller than the other or that has an up or down arrow next to it that indicates turning the brightness up or down.

 When dealing with the display a light bulb symbol can also be used to indicate brightness such as a button on a keyboard to adjust the backlight brightness.

 The crescent moon symbol is used to indicate sleep mode. For example, a crescent moon key on a keyboard or the front of the computer can put it into sleep mode.

 A rectangle with two lines on the left and right side is a symbol used to represent the VGA connector on many computers and devices.

Drive symbols

 Three disks stacked on top of each other or a tall cylinder represent a computer hard drive.

 A circle with a small hole in the middle is a symbol used to represent a CD, DVD, Blu-ray, or disc drive.

 A floppy disk symbol is often used to represent the save feature. For example, a software program may have a button with a floppy disk symbol that can be pressed to save a document. For users who did not grow up with floppy drives and floppy disks, you can see our floppy disk page for a real life example.

Network, Wireless, and Internet symbols

 Three boxes that connect to a single line is a symbol that is used to represent the Ethernet connection on a computer.

 A small dot or tower with waves coming from it indicates wireless and is one of the most recognized symbols today for a Wi-Fi (wireless network) signal.

 Not to be confused with the Wi-Fi symbol, a small solid circle with two lines coming it and going to the right is the symbol used to represent RSS.

 A globe or world symbol is often used to represent the world wide web (WWW) and may be used on a keyboard to open a web browser on the computer.

 Not to be confused with the recycle icon the two arrows going in a circle and pointing to each other is a symbol often used to indicate a reload or refresh. For example, your browser may have a refresh button that allows you to reload a browser to get the most recent copy of a web page.

 A home or house symbol is used to represent a method of getting to the main area or homepage. For example, on a browser with a home symbol button clicking that button takes you to your homepage.

 A circle with a line going to the bottom right that resembles a magnifying glass is a symbol use to represent search.

 A cloud symbol is used to represent cloud storage and is shown on computer programs capable of storing or loading from the cloud.

 A padlock or lock symbol is used to indicate security. For example, an icon with a lock symbol may be shown on your browser when a web page is secure.

 An arrow pointing to the left or a back arrow symbol is used in Internet browsers to go back to the previous web page in a browser.

 A shopping cart symbol is used to represent a digital cart in an online store. While shopping and adding items you want to buy items are added to the shopping cart that can be edited later or checked out when done shopping.

 Not to be confused with the asterisk, a star symbol is often used to represent a favorite in an Internet browser.

Three solid circles connected by two lines is the symbol that is often used to represent a social network sharing link on websites. Also, each of the major social networks use a symbol to represent their brand. For example, Facebook uses an F symbol and Twitter uses a symbol of a bird.

 Two circles or ovals that are connected to each other that resemble a chain is a symbol used to represent a link or a hyperlink.

 A box with an arrow pointing down or an arrow pointing down to a box is a symbol used to represent download. A program that supports uploading may also have a button with a symbol of a box and an up arrow.

Hardware device and port symbols

 A box on top of another box is a symbol that represents a piece of paper coming from the top or bottom of a printer. This symbol is used for printer connections and buttons in software programs that are used to print a page or sometimes open a print preview.

 A circle connected by a line to another circle, triangle and square is the symbol used to represent a USB port (USB 2.0 and lower) or a USB device.

 A symbol with two and a half triangles pointing to the right is used as the official symbol for Bluetooth.

 A USB symbol with two capital letter "S", a 3, or lightning bolts in front of it is a symbol use to indicate a USB 3.0 port.

 Serial ATA written out in a box is used to indicate the device uses Serial ATA (SATA) as its connection.

 A symbol that represents the USB symbol with the word eSATA next to it represents an external SATA connection.

 A circle with two lines to the top-left and bottom with a solid rectangle in the top right is a symbol used to represent a Firewire port or device.

 A lightning bolt next to a connector or on a cable is used to represent the Apple Thunderbolt connector.

 Two plus symbols next to a P within a D is a symbol that represents the display port and display port cables.

 A connector or cable with the letters "HDMI" and looks like "HOMI" to some users is the symbol that represents an HDMI connector.

 A phone symbol is used for the RJ-11 (phone connector) used with a computer Modem.

 The symbol of a lock on a laptop computer is used to represent a Kensington lock that is found on the back corner of some laptop computers.

 A port with "10101" that also looks like "IOIOI" is a symbol used to represent a serial port on a computer.

 An apple with one bite out of the right corner is the symbol that represents the Apple company.

 Four squares at a slight tilt is a symbol that resembles a window is a symbol that represents the Microsoft company.

E-mail symbols

A mail envelope symbol is used with e-mail and can be used for sending an e-mail or to represent when e-mail is received.

 A paperclip symbol used in e-mail programs and other message communication programs is a universal symbol for an attachment. When viewing an e-mail this icon indicates the e-mail has an attachment and when creating a message any icon or button with this symbol is used to add an attachment.

 The ( @ ) or at symbol is used in as a separator in e-mail addresses.

 A home or house symbol is used to represent a method of getting to the main area or homepage. For example, on a browser with a home symbol button clicking that button takes you to your homepage.

 Three horizontal lines above each other are known as the hamburger menu symbol and represents of a menu.

 A single arrow pointing to the left or (back) is a back arrow symbol that is used in Internet browsers to go back to the previous page.

 Not to be confused with the recycle icon the two arrows going in a circle and pointing to each other is a symbol often used to indicate a reload or refresh. For example, your browser may have a refresh button that allows you to reload a browser to get the most recent copy of a web page.

 A gear icon is widely used to indicate a configuration or settings option. For example, many programs use a gear icon for buttons that allow you to adjust a program's settings.

 A symbol with a wrench, wrench and screwdriver, or other tools is also another symbol used to indicate settings options.

Image editor symbols

 A circle with a line going to the bottom right that resembles a magnifying glass with a plus ( + ) or a minus ( - ) is a symbol use to represent search zoom in and zoom out.

 In graphic and image software programs a hand tool is used to grab hold of a page or other object and move that object around the screen.

 A symbol of a cross tilted to the right is a symbol that is used to represent an eyedropper in image and graphic related programs.

 A pair of scissors is the universal symbol used on computers to cut. If something was selected and you pressed an icon with this symbol, it would cut the object selected from the image.

 A symbol of a box made of dotted lines represents the marquee or select tool. This symbol is on buttons that allow you to use the tool to select areas of an image or another object.

 The pencil symbol is used in graphic and image editors as one method of drawing on the picture or canvas.

 Not to be confused with the pencil symbol, a brush symbol is used on programs that allow you to paint a picture or canvas.

Warning and caution symbols

 The symbol of a triangle with an exclamation mark is used to represent a warning or a notice that is important and should be read.

 A triangle with a hand that is crossed out is the symbol used to represent a product that is sensitive to ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) and that should be handled with care.

 A triangle with a lightning bolt is a symbol used to represent a warning for the potential of an electrical shock.

 The biohazard symbol is the universal symbol that represents a danger of biological substances that may be hazardous to human health.

 The radioactive symbol is a universal symbol that indicates a product contains radioactive material and may be harmful to humans.

 The symbol of a skull with crossed bones is used to represent the dangers of death.

Packaging symbols

Tip: Many of the above warning and cautions symbols may also be on packaging as well as the product contained in the package.

 An F with two C's is the symbol to represent the FCC and is a symbol found on a package that meets the FCC guidelines.

 An umbrella icon on a package represents that the contents of the package are sensitive to water and should be protected.

 A C and an E symbol is an abbreviation of ConformitĂ© EuropĂ©enne and is shown on any product that is meant to be sold in the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1985 and complies with EU legislation.

 A wine glass with a crack is a symbol used to indicate that the contents of a package are fragile.

 One or two arrows with a line underneath them indicate what direction the box should be positioned. The line shows the bottom and the arrows should be pointing up.

 A wheelie bin or trash can marked out by an X with a bold underline is the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) symbol for a product manufactured after 2005 (earlier products have no underline) and should not be thrown away and instead sent back to the manufacturer for disposal. The directive is an European Community directive was first created in 2002 as a way to help deal with the environmental impacts of electronic waste.

 A symbol with RoHS, RoHS compliant or a RoHS with a check mark is for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive that was adopted by the European Union in 2003 to indicate the product is made without the following ten substances:

  1. Lead (Pb)
  2. Mercury (Hg)
  3. Cadmium (Cd)
  4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
  5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
  7. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  8. Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  9. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  10. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

 Two arrows going in a circle with a 20 in the middle of the circle is the RoHS symbol that represents the product meets the obligations of China that began on March 1, 2007.