How to Type the Slashed Zero Symbol on Windows, Mac, Chromebook and Mobile - 33rd Square (2024)

by Nelson Ayers

The slashed zero symbol Ø is often used to make sure the number zero is distinguished from the letter O. While they may look nearly identical, confusing the two could lead to errors in critical situations. This guide will explain what the slashed zero is, why it‘s important, and how to type it on your computer, phone or tablet.

What is the Slashed Zero Symbol?

The slashed zero symbol Ø is a variant of the number zero 0 with a diagonal line through it. It developed as a way to avoid ambiguity and distinguish zero from the letter O in applications where clarity is important. Some key examples include:

  • Math and science notation
  • Engineering and technical documentation
  • Computer programming languages
  • Telecommunications and networking
  • Barcodes and serial numbers

Using the slashed zero helps eliminate errors when numbers containing a zero could be misinterpreted. For example, writing 10 vs lO, or entering a serial number 00O111 vs 001lll. The simple addition of the slash makes the zero unambiguous.

Why is the Slashed Zero Used?

Some of the main reasons the slashed zero is preferred over the plain zero include:

  • Avoid ambiguity – Ensures zero can‘t be confused with letter O, which could lead to mistakes in critical data.
  • Error prevention – Stops unintentional misreading of numbers, especially when handwritten.
  • Clarity in coding – Slashed zero helps distinguish zero from O in programming languages where clarity matters.
  • Accuracy in formulas – Prevents faulty calculations due to ambiguous zeros in scientific and engineering notation.
  • Correct indexes – Stops sorting mistakes when alphanumeric serial numbers or codes are used.

While slashed zero may not be strictly necessary in everyday writing, it can be indispensible in technical documentation to remove uncertainty.

How to Type the Slashed Zero Symbol

Typing the slashed zero is easy once you know the keyboard shortcut for your operating system. Here are the common ways to produce it:

On Windows

  • Hold down Ctrl + Shift and press /
  • Release keys and press Shift + O

On Mac

  • Hold down Option + Shift and press /
  • Release keys and press O

On Chromebook

  • Hold down Search + Alt and press /
  • Release keys and press O

On iPhone/iPad (iOS)

  • Open keyboard and tap #+= to access additional symbols
  • Tap Ø slashed zero symbol to insert it

On Android

  • Open keyboard and long press ? to bring up symbols
  • Tap Ø slashed zero symbol to insert it

See the table below for a quick summary:

PlatformKey Combination
WindowsCtrl + Shift + /, Shift + O
MacOption + Shift + /, O
ChromebookSearch + Alt + /, O
iPhone/iPad#+= -> Ø
Android? -> Ø

(On mobile, may need to enable additional symbols/emoji on keyboard)

If you have trouble accessing the slashed zero, you may need to enable an extended symbol set or international keyboard on your computer or device. Refer to the instructions for your specific operating system.

Similar Symbols

There are a few other symbols that look similar to the slashed zero and can cause confusion:

  • Theta θ – Greek letter used in math and science
  • Phi φ – Also a Greek letter with uses in physics and math
  • Diameter ⌀ – Used to indicate diameter in mathematical expressions
  • Prohibition Sign – Circle with diagonal line, indicates something is not allowed

The slashed zero is the only one intended specifically to denote the number zero. Keep in mind the others have different meanings if you encounter them.

When to Use Slashed Zero

Some examples of when it‘s preferable to use the slashed zero include:

  • Data sets with alphanumeric codes that contain both letters and numbers
  • Scientific papers and academic journals with mathematical notation
  • Engineering and tech specs with measurement numbers
  • Computer programs where O and 0 could be ambiguous
  • Database indexes and serial numbers with potential ambiguity
  • Any setting where precision is vital and ambiguity could lead to errors

For casual everyday writing, the regular zero is fine. But when accuracy is critical, opt for the slashed zero to avoid mistakes.

In summary, the slashed zero Ø is an important symbol that helps remove uncertainty and ensures zero is not mistaken for the letter O. With the keyboard shortcuts shown here, you should now be able to easily type the slashed zero on any computer, smartphone or tablet when you need unambiguous zeros.

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How to Type the Slashed Zero Symbol on Windows, Mac, Chromebook and Mobile - 33rd Square (2024)


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