Asterisk

Updated: 10/30/2017 by Computer Hope

AsteriskSometimes referred to as the star, big dot, and the multiplication symbol, the asterisk is a symbol ( * ) commonly found above the "8" key on standard United States keyboards and on the number pad.

Where is the asterisk key on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the asterisk key highlighted in blue on the main keyboard as well as the numeric keypad.

Asterisk key

How to create the * symbol

Creating the * symbol on a U.S. keyboard

To create an asterisk using a U.S. keyboard hold down the Shift key and press the eight key on the top of the keyboard.

Tip: The asterisk is easier to use on the numeric keypad with math formulas.

Creating the * symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create an asterisk on a smartphone or tablet open the keyboard and go into the numbers (123) and then (#+=) or symbols (sym) section and then press your finger on the * symbol.

What is an asterisk used for on a computer?

Below are examples of how the asterisk is used on a computer.

An asterisk in a math formula

In a math formula an asterisk is used to represent a multiplication (times). For example, in the below formula you can see that 5 <times> 2 is equal to 10.

5 * 2 = 10

An asterisk in a wild card

The asterisk represents a wildcard or wild character with computers. For example, when typing *.TXT in a search or find field, the computer would look for any file ending with .TXT.

An asterisk in computer programming

Another example of an asterisk is in the nonexecutable statement used with some programming languages. For example, in the below PHP code, the comment "hidden text" would not show when executed.

<?php
/* hidden text */
echo "hello world";
?>

An asterisk as a reference

Finally, an asterisk is also commonly used as a reference mark in a document.

Bullet, Keyboard terms, Wildcard