Octothorpe

Updated: 06/02/2020 by Computer Hope
Hash, Pound, Number, and Octothorpe

Also called a hash, number sign, or pound sign, the octothorpe is the typographical symbol "#" (two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, crossed).

On US QWERTY keyboards, the # symbol appears on the same key as the number 3. It can be typed by holding Shift and pressing the 3 key.

Where is the hash key on the keyboard?

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

Hash key

How to create the hash symbol

Creating the # symbol on a U.S. keyboard

To create the hash symbol using a U.S. keyboard, hold down the Shift and press the number 3 at the top of the keyboard.

Creating the # symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create a hash on a smartphone or tablet, open the keyboard, access the numbers (123) section, and then the (#+=) or symbols (sym) section. Press your finger on the # symbol.

Creating the # symbol on keyboards outside of the U.S.

Computer users in other parts of the world, such as Italy can find the # symbol on a different key. In the picture below is a keyboard key with the # symbol on the same key as the à and ° key. To use this key hold down Alt and press the key.

AT symbol on an Italian keyboard

How is the hash symbol used on a computer?

Below are examples of what uses the pound symbol on a computer.

  • Indicates that the number it precedes is an ordinal (e.g., "#1" for "number one," meaning "first" or "best").
  • In hashtags (e.g., #computer)
  • In programming to identify a nonexecutable statement.
  • In IRC chat an identifier of a channel. For example, #computerhope is the Computer Hope chat channel.

Keyboard terms, Number key