Colon

Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Colon

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 the : (colon) key. The : key is the same key as the ; (semicolon) key, 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://www.computerhope.com, https is the protocol and www.computerhope.com is the address.
  2. In MS-DOS and the Windows command line, a colon indicates a drive letter. For example, typing 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 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