How to type the British pound sign on keyboard (Mac and PC)?

Gert Svaiko

Need to add the British pound sign to your document, website, email, or when sending a DM? We got you covered. In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know about inserting the pound symbol on your keyboard and smartphone.

And, if you need to send pounds overseas, a money services provider Wise got you covered there too – with low fees and fair exchange rates.

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What is the British pound sign?

The British pound sign looks like this:

£

According to the Bank of England, the symbol originates from the letter L. This is the first letter of the Latin word for ‘libra’, which means a pound of money.

The horizontal line was added later, although it’s not sure when. In the Bank of England’s collection, there’s a cheque dating back to 1660, where the line is present.¹

💡Read more: Different currency symbols of the world

Does the British pound sign come before or after the number?

The British pound sign generally comes before the number. So when you’re writing a sum of money such as ten pounds, you’d write it like this: £10.

What’s the British pound abbreviation?

The British pound can be a little confusing to foreigners, as it has a few different names and abbreviations.

The currency is actually called sterling. Although internationally, it’s generally known as the British pound or pound sterling. Colloquially, British people sometimes call it a “quid”.

On the foreign exchange market, the British pound is abbreviated to GBP.

How do you type a British pound sign on keyboard (Mac and PC)?

If you need to type the British pound sign, here’s how to do it on both a Mac and a Windows PC.

Firstly, on a Mac. The easiest way is to use the keyboard shortcut. This is to hold down Shift (Option on US keyboards), while pressing the number 3.

On a Windows PC or laptop, you can use exactly the same shortcut. Simply hold down Shift and then press the number 3. This is usually on the top row of your keyboard, although it can be to the side if you’re using a full keyboard with a number pad.

Many keyboards will also feature the £ symbol above the number 3, making it easier to remember which one to press. Although, of course, you’re not likely to find the British pound sign on American keyboards.

For ease, you can also go ahead and copy and paste the pound symbol from here:

£

How to insert a British pound sign on a mobile device (iOS and Android)?

Using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device? It couldn’t be easier to insert the British pound sign into a message or search query.

For both iOS and Android devices, you simply need to switch to the numbers and symbols keyboard. The £ sign should be one of the options. Although if it isn’t, you can also hold down the dollar sign ($) to see more currency symbol options.

How to get the British pound sign in popular word processors – without typing?

If you don’t have access to a keyboard, there is a way you can insert a British pound sign on your word processor without typing.

On applications such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, you can simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to Insert from the drop-down menu at the top
  2. Select ‘Symbol’ on Word, or ‘Special Characters’ on Google Docs
  3. You should be able to select the £ symbol. On Google Docs, you may need to select ‘Symbol’ and then ‘Currency’ from the category menus.

And that’s it - everything you need to know about how to type the British pound sign on Mac, PC or your smartphone.


Sources used:

  1. Bank of England - History of the use of the single crossbar pound sign on Bank of England’s banknotes

Sources last checked on date: 12-May-2023


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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