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
The asterisk is easier to use on the numeric keypad with math formulas.
Creating the * symbol on a smartphone or tablet
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
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"; ?>
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.
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 #.
The asterisk key is used in keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+Shift+*.