The percent (%) symbol is most 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.
How to create the % symbol
Creating the % symbol on a U.S. keyboard
Creating the % symbol on a smartphone or tablet
Examples of using the percent on a computer
- Represent a percentage (i.e., 60% is 6/10 or 3/5 or .60).
- Represent matched text. See our %1, \1, and $1 definition for further information.
- In programming languages like Perl, a % is used for a hash. In Python, the % is an operator that returns the remainder of a number.
- In Microsoft Windows, a percent is used for an environment variable.
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.
WHERE full_name LIKE 'Bryan%'
This example would result in a list of all employee names that start with "Bryan."