# Asterisk

Updated: 05/01/2023 by Computer Hope Sometimes called a star, big dot, and multiplication symbol, the asterisk is a symbol ( * ) found above the "8" key on standard U.S. keyboards and 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 and the numeric keypad. ## How to create the * symbol

### Creating the * symbol on a U.S. keyboard

To create an asterisk using a U.S. keyboard, hold down Shift and press 8 on the keyboard (Shift+8).

Tip

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

Tip

Doing the Alt code Alt+42 can also create an asterisk.

### Creating the * symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create an asterisk on a smartphone or tablet, open the keyboard, go into the numbers (123) section, and then the (#+=) or symbols (sym) section. 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 represents a multiplication (times). For example, in the formula below, you can see that 5 <times> 2 equals 10.

`5 * 2 = 10`

### An asterisk in a wildcard

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 following PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) code, the comment "hidden text" would not show when executed because it's surrounded by a forward slash and an asterisk.

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

In Python and other programming languages, a ** (double asterisk) can be used as an operator to calculate the power of a number. For example, i**j would be "i" to the power of "j" in the script.

### A star symbol in a spreadsheet program

In spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel, a star symbol (asterisk) is used in formulas for multiplication. For example, the value in cell A1 is multiplied by cell value in B1 in the following formula.

`=sum(A1*B1)`

### An asterisk as a reference

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

### Asterisk on a phone keypad

On a telephone and smartphone, the asterisk is used with a FAC (feature access code), also known as a star code. For example, the star code *72 can be used forward all calls on a phone to another number. In this example, you'd dial *72 followed by a 10-digit phone number, and then the # (pound). To disable the call forwarding, dial *73 and #.

### Keyboard shortcut

The asterisk key is used in keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+Shift+*.