Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

The percent (%) symbol is most often used in mathematics and in programs like Microsoft Excel as a different way 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 key and press the number five key at the top of the keyboard.

Creating the % symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create a percent 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.

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, a 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 that word was found in the name of the record. Using the percent symbol as a wildcard, can help 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 down the search further by using the percent symbol and 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