Updated: 03/10/2024 by Computer Hope
Period character

Alternatively known as a full stop or dot, a period ( . ) is a punctuation mark commonly found on the same US QWERTY keyboard key as the greater than ( > ).

Where is the period on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the period keys highlighted in blue. With U.S. keyboards, the period is next to the question mark key. With keyboards with a numeric keypad a period is also next to the Enter key.

Period key

How to create a period

Creating the period symbol on a U.S. keyboard

On English PC and Mac keyboards, the period is on the same key as the greater than ( > ) symbol. Pressing the period key with no other key creates a period.


Doing the Alt code Alt+46 can also create a period.

Creating the period symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create a period on a smartphone or tablet, open the keyboard, go into the numbers (123) or symbols (sym) section, and then tap the "." symbol.

What is a period used for on a computer?

Computers use a period in the following ways.

File names and extensions

With IBM compatible computers and their operating systems, a period is used to separate the file name from the file extension. For example, with the file "somefile.pdf" the "somefile" file name is separated from the "pdf" file extension.

Domain and URL

The period is used to help create a URL (uniform resource locator) and break up important portions of the URL. For example, with the https is the protocol, and the rest of the URL is the domain and address.

IP address

With an IP address (IPv4) periods separate each of the number blocks in the address. For example, "" is an example of an IP address using periods.


In Linux, when listing files in a directory, a single period represents the current directory and a ".." (double period or "dot dot") represents the parent directory.

Two periods can be used with the cd command in the Windows command line and Linux to move back one directory.


A period may be used as or part of a wildcard in programming code.

What is the other symbol on the period key?

On U.S. keyboards, the period key is shared with the greater than key, which may be next to or above the period symbol. If the keyboard has a numeric keypad, the period on the numeric keypad functions as a Del key when Num Lock is not enabled.

Dot, Ellipsis, Full stop punctuation, Keyboard terms, Punctuation, Three periods, Typography terms