Hardware Mac Software

How do I write a hashtag on a Mac?

Hashtag symbol
Making a hash of it: how to find the hashtag symbol on a Mac

The hashtag or, more precisely, the hash (#) can be awkward to find at first on a Mac (much like the delete key), particularly if you’ve moved over from Windows PCs. We’ll show you how to write a hashtag on a Mac.

What’s the difference between a hash and a hashtag?

A hash is the keyboard symbol #. It’s also known as the number sign or, in American English, the pound sign (related to the pound weight, not the currency).

A hashtag is a way of tagging something with specific words by prefixing them with the hash symbol. For example, #awkward is a hashtag. You’ll commonly find hashtags on social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

To make things more confusing there’s a musical notation symbol, named the sharp, which looks similar: ♯. Note the slanted horizontal lines, unlike the slanted verticals of the hash.

Where is the hash symbol?

This will depend on the keyboard that you’re using. The general rule of thumb for keyboard characters on a Mac is that if they appear above the primary character, you use “Shift” to access them. For those to the right, you use “Option”. Some keyboards will have the “Option” key labelled as “Alt”.

UK Layout

If you scan across the keyboard, you’ll see the hash symbol to the right of the number 3. So, to display the hash, hold down “Option” and press “3”.

US Layout

The hash symbol can be seen above the number 3, so hold down “Shift” and press “3” to display it.

French Layout

The French keyboard has the hash symbol on the button to the left of the number “1”. No additional key is required to be pressed at the same time – just press that button to display the symbol.

German Layout

Like the French layout, the German keyboard has a key dedicated to the hash symbol – it’s just above the right-hand shift key. Again, no other key needs to be held down at the same time to display the symbol.

Other Layouts

For most other keyboard layouts, it’s the same as the US – i.e. press “Shift” and “3” to display the hash symbol. If this isn’t the case then my rule above as to what combination of keys to press to display any symbol printed on the keyboard applies.

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress.com and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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