How to Do a Straight Vertical Line on a Keyboard

By Aaron Parson

The vertical line character, also called the vertical bar, has a range of uses, such as surrounding a number to indicate absolute value, or with two bars to represent the OR operator. In computing, the symbol is often referred to as the pipe, and it can be used at a command prompt to output text one page at a time. Most systems have a vertical line on the keyboard, but if yours doesn't, you can still enter one by using the Character Map.

Using a Standard Keyboard

Step 1

Click in a text document or blank form to place your text cursor.

Step 2

Hold down either "Shift" key. The Caps Lock key won't work for typing the vertical bar or other symbols.

Step 3

Press the "\" backslash key, usually located above the Enter key. On standard English keyboard layouts, this inserts the "|" symbol.

Using the Character Map

Step 1

Press "Windows-R," and then enter "charmap" to run the Windows Character Map.

Step 2

Pick the font you want to use from the drop-down menu.

Step 3

Locate and select the vertical bar in the list of characters. Note that not all fonts include all symbols, so you may need to pick a different font. In most fonts, the bar appears two characters after the end of the lower case alphabet.

Step 4

Click "Select," and then click "Copy."

Step 5

Place your text cursor in your document, and then press "Control-V" to paste the bar.

Tips & Warnings

  • In Microsoft Word, you can quickly add a vertical line even if your keyboard doesn't have one by typing the symbol's Unicode code -- "007c" (without quotes) -- and pressing "Alt-X."
  • To insert a broken bar, which usually does not appear on most keyboards and is rarely used, locate it shortly after the vertical line in the Character Map or use the Unicode number "00a6."
  • Information in this article applies to versions of Windows from XP through 8.1, and versions of Word from 2003 through 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.