Single quote

Updated: 05/01/2023 by Computer Hope
Single quotes

Also called an apostrophe, a single quote is a punctuation mark found on the United States QWERTY keyboard next to the Enter key.

Where is the single quote key on the keyboard?

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

Tilde key

How to create the single quote symbol

Creating the single quote symbol on a U.S. keyboard

To create the quote symbol using a U.S. keyboard, press the single quote key, which is on the same key as the quote ( " ) and typically to the left of Enter.


Doing the Alt code Alt+39 can also create a single quote.

Creating the single quote symbol on a smartphone or tablet

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

What is a single quote used for on a computer?


In most computer programming, single quotes are commonly used to contain commands or literal strings.

my $example = "Example of variable";
print 'Do not print $example';

In the example above, the variable $example would not be treated as a variable. Instead, it would print "Do not print $example". If you used quotes instead of a single quote, it would print "Do not print Example of variable".

In other programming languages, like QBasic and Visual Basic, the single quote is treated as a nonexecutable statement.


In Microsoft Excel, an apostrophe causes Excel to treat the text entered into a cell after the apostrophe as text instead of a number.


A single quote may be used when describing a measurement. For example, if someone said they're 5' 9", it's the same as saying they're five feet nine inches.


When describing measurements, it's more proper to use a single prime instead of a single quote.


A single quote may be used in a keyboard shortcut. For example, pressing Ctrl+' in Microsoft Excel copies the formula in the cell above the selected cell.

What is the other symbol on the single quote key?

On U.S. keyboards, the single quote key is shared with the quote key, which may be shown next to or above the single quote symbol.

Back quote, Keyboard terms, Prime, Quote, Typography terms