Updated: 05/16/2020 by Computer Hope

A pipe may refer to any of the following:

1. When referring to computer memory, a pipe is a temporary section of computer memory capable of linking two or more computer processors to increase the overall efficiency of the computer.

2. A pipe can refer to the cable used to transfer large amounts of data for one or more people on the Internet. The term "pipe" is used in company names, like FatPipe, who provide Internet access and in slang like "huge pipe" to describe someone with a lot of bandwidth. See our backbone and trunk pages for further information.

3. Alternatively referred to as a vertical bar, the pipe is a computer keyboard key "|" is a vertical line, sometimes depicted with a gap. This symbol is found on the same United States QWERTY keyboard key as the backslash key.

Where is the pipe on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the pipe key highlighted in blue. It's also not uncommon for this key to be directly below the Backspace key and above the Enter key.

Backslash key

How to create a pipe

Creating the | symbol on a U.S. keyboard

On English PC and Mac keyboards, the pipe is on the same key as the backslash key. It is located above the Enter key (Return key) and below the Backspace key. Pressing and holding down the Shift key while pressing the pipe key creates a pipe.

Creating the | symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create a quote symbol on a smartphone or tablet, open the keyboard, go the numbers (123), then (#+=) or symbols (sym) section, then press the | symbol.

What is a pipe used for on a computer?

Computer programming

Pipe and double pipe

In programming, the double pipe "||" is used to represent an OR boolean operator.

Using a pipe as a delimiter

It's also not uncommon for one or more pipe characters to be used as a delimiter in a text file.

Command separator

When using the pipe in the command line, it can redirect a command's output to the input of another.

What is the other symbol on the pipe key?

On U.S. keyboards, the pipe key is shared with the backslash key, which may be shown next to or below the pipe symbol.

Keyboard terms, Memory terms, Plumbing, Programming terms