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

How to Show Folder Size in Finder

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  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?

  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.

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

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

  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.

  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.

  12. Peter
    May 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I find that on my iMac, some fields are keener on making a hash for alt+3 than others… it's rather irritating.

    I just got an MBP, though, and it seems to work reliably everywhere there…

  13. John Brooks
    June 16, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Thank you! This was driving me mad, as my keyboard clearly shows a # as shift 3.

  14. nico
    August 12, 2014 at 5:06 am

    shift 3

  15. friendstephen
    December 1, 2014 at 11:28 am


  16. prakash gayen
    July 23, 2015 at 10:05 am

    hi i m using Dell,inspiron 15,3000 series..and i can not use the hash bottum…its a british keyboard i think so and now i live in india…so pleasae help me as early as possible…

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