Updated: 05/01/2023 by Computer Hope
Semicolon character

The semicolon is a punctuation mark and symbol. It resembles like a period above a comma (;). It is on the same key as the colon (:) on standard United States QWERTY keyboard.

Where is the semicolon key on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the semicolon key highlighted in blue.

Semicolon key

How to create the ';' symbol

Creating the ';' symbol on a U.S. keyboard

To create the semicolon symbol using a U.S. keyboard, press the semicolon key. It is on the same key as the colon ( : ), directly to the right of the letter 'L' key.


Doing the Alt code Alt+59 can also create a semicolon.

Creating the ';' symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create a tilde on a smartphone or tablet open the keyboard and go into the numbers (123) or symbols (sym) section and tap the ';' symbol.

How is a semicolon used?

Below are examples of where a semicolon is used today.

  1. The semicolon is used in many computer programming to finish an instruction. For example, in the below print statement the trailing semicolon lets the programming interpreter that it is the end of the line.
print "Hello world!";
  1. A semicolon may also be used as a delimiter to separate text. For example, if the Windows path has more than one directory each directory is separated by a semicolon.
  2. Other programming languages like AutoHotkey use a semicolon for non executable statements.
  3. The semicolon may be used with a right parenthesis in text or online messages to denote a winking face ;). It is also known as an emoticon.
  4. The semicolon is used with keyboard shortcuts. For example, in Microsoft Excel, doing Ctrl+; inserts the current date into a spreadsheet.

What is the other symbol on the semicolon key?

On U.S. keyboards, the semicolon key is shared with the colon key, which may be next to or above the backslash symbol. To create the colon, hold down the Shift while also pressing ;.

Colon, Keyboard terms, Nonexecutable statement, Punctuation, Typography terms