Octothorpe

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Hash, Pound, Number, and OctothorpeAlso called a hash, hash-mark, number, number key, number sign, or a pound sign, the octothorpe is the name of a typographical symbol. On US QWERTY keyboards, it appears on the same key as the number 3, and can be typed by holding Shift and pressing the key. As seen here, the octothorpe appears as two horizontal lines crossing two vertical lines ( # ).

Note: A number key is also be used to describe a number key on the numeric keypad.

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 key 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 and go into the numbers (123) and then (#+=) or symbols (sym) section and then 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 the Alt key and then 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