# Caret

Updated: 05/06/2024 by Computer Hope

Caret may refer to any of the following:

1. A caret is another name for a cursor.

2. Alternatively known as the circumflex, the caret is the symbol ( ^ ) above the 6 key on a standard United States qwerty keyboard. In mathematics, the caret represents an exponent, such as a square, cube, or another exponential power. For example, 6^3, which may also be represented as 63 or 6 * 6 * 6.

## Where is the caret key on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the caret key highlighted in blue.

## How to create the ^ symbol

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

To create the caret symbol using a U.S. keyboard hold down the Shift and press the 6 number key at the top of the keyboard (Shift+6).

Tip

Doing the Alt code Alt+94 can also create a caret.

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

To create a caret on a smartphone or tablet, open the keyboard, go into the numbers (123), then (#+=) or symbols (sym), and tap the ^ symbol.

## What a caret is used for on a computer?

### Using a caret for shorthand for Ctrl

Computer documentation may list commands such as ^X, ^C, ^Z, etc. as a notation or short way of saying Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-Z, etc. In other words, press Ctrl or Control and the letter following the caret to do the keyboard shortcut.

### Using a caret in programming and regular expressions

Carets can be used in computer programming languages for various reasons. For example, in Perl, a user may use the below regular expression to replace the first character in the variable "myvariable" with an uppercase character. Many programs that support regular expressions (regex) use ^ to match the first character in a line or string.

`\$myvariable =~ s/^(\w)/\U\$1/g;`

In C-style programming languages, the caret is used for a bitwise XOR.

### Escape character

The caret is used as an escape character in MS-DOS and the Windows command line. For example, when needing to type a less than or greater than in the echo command, it must be escaped.

### Keyboard shortcut

The caret key is used in keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+Shift+^.

### Using a caret in chat

Someone may type several carets in chat (e.g., ^^, ^^^, or ^^^^^^^) to tell others to read the above line or what someone said above is true.