Updated: 05/16/2020 by Computer Hope

Alternatively referred to as a backward slash, downward slash, and reverse solidus, the backslash is a character ( \ ) first introduced by Bob Bemer in 1960.


Although "slash" is most often used to describe the forward slash, it can describe either a forward slash or backslash. It's better to say "backslash" or "whack" instead of "slash" when telling someone to enter a backslash.


Early typewriters and computer keyboards only had a forward slash. The backward slash was not made popular until MS-DOS started being used.

Where is the backslash key on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the backslash key highlighted in blue. It is also not uncommon for this key to be directly below the Backspace key and above the Enter key.

Backslash key

How to create a backslash

Creating the \ symbol on a U.S. keyboard

On English PC and Mac keyboards, the backslash key is also the pipe key. It is located above the Enter key (Return key), and below the Backspace key. Pressing \ key creates a backslash.

Creating the \ symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create a backslash symbol on a smartphone or tablet, open the keyboard and go into the numbers (123) or symbols (sym) section and then tap the \ symbol.

What is a backslash used for on a computer?

A backslash can represent a file path in MS-DOS and Windows. For example, c:\windows is an example of the backslash being used. A backslash may also be used for any of the following reasons.

What is the other symbol on the backslash key?

On U.S. keyboards, the backslash key is shared with the pipe key, which may be shown next to or above the backslash symbol. To create the pipe, hold down the Shift while also pressing the \ key.

Forward slash, Keyboard terms, Slant, Slash