Updated: 05/16/2020 by Computer Hope

A colon is a symbol that resembles two vertical periods ( : ) and found on the same key as the semicolon on standard United States keyboards.

Where is the colon key on the keyboard?

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

Colon key

How to create the ":" symbol

Creating the ":" symbol on a U.S. keyboard

To create the colon symbol using a U.S. keyboard, hold down the Shift key and press colon key. The colon key is the same key as the semicolon ( ; ), located directly to the right of the letter 'L' key.

Creating the ":" symbol on a smartphone or tablet

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

How is a colon used?

Below are some different examples of where a colon is used today.

  1. In a URL, a colon separates the protocol with the address. For example, with https is the protocol and is the address.
  2. In MS-DOS and the Windows command line, a colon indicates a drive letter. For example, typing in "A:" at the MS-DOS prompt would switch to the "A: drive" or floppy disk drive.
  3. In a spreadsheet formula, a colon specifies a range. For example, =sum(A1:A20) would add cells A1 through A20.
  4. A colon in front or end of a word (depending on programming language) creates a label that can be used with a goto.
  5. In a batch file adding two comments in front of a line creates a remarked line.
  6. The colon may be used, along with a right parenthesis, in text or online messages to denote a smiley face :). It is also known as an emoticon.

What is the other symbol on the colon key?

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

Keyboard terms, Semicolon