Updated: 03/10/2024 by Computer Hope
Colon character and symbol

A colon is a symbol that resembles two vertical periods ( : ) and 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 Shift and press : (colon) key. The colon : is the same key as ; (semicolon), located directly to the right of the letter 'L' key.


Doing the Alt code Alt+58 can also create a colon.

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 tap the ":" symbol.

How is a colon used?

Below are examples of where a colon is used today.

  1. In a URL (uniform resource locator), a colon separates the protocol with the address. For example, with, https is the protocol and is the address.
  2. With an IP address (IPv4) the colon specifies the port. For example, "" indicates an IP address of "" and to use port 20, which is often the FTP port.
  3. With an IPv6 address the colon separates each of the blocks in the address.
  4. 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.
  5. In a spreadsheet formula, a colon specifies a range. For example, =sum(A1:A20) would add cells A1 through A20.
  6. A colon in front or end of a word (depending on programming language) creates a label that can be used with a goto.
  7. In a batch file adding two comments in front of a line creates a remarked line.
  8. 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.
  9. The colon is used with keyboard shortcuts. For example, in Microsoft Excel, doing Ctrl+Shift+: inserts the current time into a spreadsheet.

What is the other symbol on the colon key?

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

Keyboard terms, Punctuation, Semicolon, Typography terms