If you are, like me, leaving the Windows world and just starting to learn how to use Mac using the MacBook (Pro), you would quickly arrive to a realization that some of the keys on the keyboard are not where they used to be.

One of these keys is, as a matter of fact, missing from the main configuration.  This key is the Hash Symbol (#) or the Pound Sign (for some of our American friends).  As I am a Programmer who uses the Hash Symbol extensively, the thought of not having this key readily available was enough to send me into a panic attack (so to speak)!

After I calmed myself down, I was thinking that this symbol must be there somewhere, hidden beneath one of these keys, the only think I need to do is to find out which one :)  This thought led me to scour the net to find an equivalent of Windows’ Keymap in Mac, and I found it :)

It’s called the Keyboard Viewer, and you can access it from the drop-down menu off the Language Selector on the Mac Bar.

Keyboard Language Drop-Down

If you select the ‘Show Keyboard Viewer‘ menu item, it will open the Keyboard Viewer window.

Keyboard Viewer

On this Keyboard Viewer you can see the Mapping of the keys on the keyboard to the characters and symbols. Also if you hold one of the modifier keys, e.g. Command, Alt, Ctrl, Shift, etc, they Viewer will show alternate keys to which the keyboard maps to when the modifier key is use. After trying out the modifier key one by one, finally I found the Hash Symbol that I was looking for, which produced by holding the Alt (Option) Key and the Number 3 key :) It’s not perfect (normally it requires only one key), but at least it’s there. I’m back to normal :)

Keyboard Viewer with Alt

You might also like these post:

Keyboard Shortcut to Take Screenshot in Mac

Keyboard Shortcut to Open Folders or Files and Run Programs in Mac

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Comments

  1. J Ryan Williams
    February 26, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Weird… the hash key is clearly marked above the number 3 key on my MacBookPro. So… shift-3 = #. Is this only the case in the US?

    • mahadewa
      April 17, 2010 at 2:47 pm

      Probably yes :) In the UK, that spot is used for £ symbol :)

  2. Steven M
    May 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    us centric that my uk keyboard has $ and no # …… hmmm

  3. George
    March 28, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for this – possibly worth pointing out that 'alt + 'number'' can also be a direct selection to a 'Spaces' screen so if ' alt + 3' doesn't give a '#' then have a look at your spaces shortcuts…

  4. Paul
    August 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    How ridiculous. This is all very well if you're running OSX. I run Windows so I'm left having to copy and paste the hash tag.

    • mahadewa
      August 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      Hi Paul, you are talking about running Windows on a Mac? Why would you want to do that? :) Sorry, couldn\’t help it.
      I did run XP once, but I just can\’t recall if I had the same problem. What do you get if you type the key I\’m suggesting here?

    • Binjie
      April 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Hi Paul

      I just had the same problem. It's a pain in the backside, but I found out the combination you need to produce a #: Ctrl + alt + 3. Hope this helps.

  5. Sheila
    October 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    thanks you saved me copying and pasting as I usually do.

    • mahadewa
      November 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Great I could help!

  6. Peter
    November 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for this, I hate Apple and everything they make but my boss uses one and i have been trying to get him into twitter and this was yet another barrier that Apple have needlessly put up in there battle against compatibility and usability.

    • mahadewa
      November 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      To Apple's defense, they been around long before Twitter had :) But yeah, it's quite annoying for us Developers too, since we use hash quite a lot. Glad that I can help.

      • pangeran
        February 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm

        pak Dewa, ada manual gak utk trik2 ngetik di macBpro ?

        gw masih bingung cara utk ngescreen shot kayak d windows, trus make F2 utk xl ????

        thanks

        • mahadewa
          February 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm

          Wah, belum ada euyh. Ini juga nyari-nyari di Google :) F2 untuk apa?

          • pangeran
            February 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

            f2 itu utk masukin kursor ke salah satu column d xl file (windows).

            thanks btw.
            cheers

  7. Gideon
    May 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    What a star you are or should I say Shift 8? Thanks for saving me so much time. Gideon

  8. Dan
    August 30, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Thanks man. You gave the answer! (however I had to real all you story…)

  9. virtual world
    October 16, 2012 at 10:21 am

    thanks for the instructions, it was helpful

  10. charlesnworth
    August 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have just ended weeks of niggly frustration!

  11. Tim Whelan
    December 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Or you could just copy it from the title of this article.

    • mahadewa
      January 3, 2014 at 10:06 am

      LOL, you are right :)

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