How to Make an Absolute Value Sign on a Computer

By Marina Martin

Absolute value indicates how far a number is from zero, regardless of whether it is negative or positive. The sign for absolute value is enclosing a number or variable inside two "|" symbols, known as pipes. For example, you write the absolute value of -11 as |-11|. The value of |-11| is 11, because -11 is 11 away from zero. Standard keyboards include the pipe symbol, so you can type the absolute value sign directly from the keyboard.

Step 1

Open the word processing document, Web page or other location into which you want to type the absolute value sign.

Step 2

Hold down the "Shift" key. Press the "|" key on your keyboard, which usually shares a key with the backslash, or "\", symbol.

Step 3

Type the number or variable that you want to represent in absolute value, such as "-11" or "a."

Step 4

Hold down "Shift" and press the "|" symbol once more.