Updated: 05/21/2018 by Computer Hope

Alternatively referred to 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 comma key highlighted in blue.

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 > symbol. Pressing the period key with no other key creates 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 press your finger on the '.' symbol.

What is a period used for on a computer?

Computers use a period in the following ways.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Two periods can be used with the cd command in the Windows command line and Linux to move back one directory.
  4. The period is used to help create a URL and break up important portions of the URL. For example, with the https is the protocol, and the rest of the URL is the address accessed using that protocol.
  5. It is used as or part of a wildcard in programming code.

Dot, Ellipsis, Keyboard terms