How to Do a Straight Vertical Line on a Keyboard

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.

Computer keyboard with clipping path
Both QWERTY and Dvorak keyboards commonly place the pipe on the backslash key.
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Using a Standard Keyboard

Step

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

Step

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

Step

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

Using the Character Map

Step

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

Step

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

Step

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.

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

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