Updated: 11/18/2022 by Computer Hope
Percent symbol

The percent (%) symbol is often used in mathematics and programs like Microsoft Excel to represent a fraction of a whole number (i.e., 60% is 6/10 or 3/5 or .60).

Where is the percent key on the keyboard?

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

Percent key

How to create the % symbol

Creating the % symbol on a U.S. keyboard

To create a percent symbol using a U.S. keyboard, hold down the Shift and press the 5 at the top of the keyboard.


Doing the Alt code Alt+37 can also create a percent.

Creating the % symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create a percent on a smartphone or tablet, open the keyboard, and go to the numbers section (123). Then, (#+=) or symbols (sym) section and then press your finger on the % symbol.

Examples of using the percent on a computer

Using a % as a wildcard in a database

A percent symbol can also be used as a wildcard, meaning it can represent any character, whether that be a letter, number, hyphen, or another special character.

For example, in Oracle systems, performing a search for %Army% would return any record that contained the word "Army," regardless of where it was found. Using the percent symbol as a wildcard helps find search results when a user is not sure what records they are looking for exactly. While the number of search results returned can be numerous, the user could narrow the search further with the percent symbol with additional characters or words in the search.

SQL example

SELECT full_name
FROM employees
WHERE full_name LIKE 'Bryan%'

This example would result in a list of all employee names that start with "Bryan."

%1, Keyboard terms, Number key