If you are typing something that involves British currency, it can be helpful to be able to type the symbol for the British pound (£). Luckily, it's easy to do so, even on a Mac in a country other than the United Kingdom. If you aren't sure how to type any symbol on a particular device, you can also use the Character Viewer on a Mac or the Character Map tool on Windows to insert it into a document or find it online and copy it and paste it into your work.
The British Pound Symbol
Like most major currencies, the British pound, the unit of currency of the United Kingdom, is represented by a particular symbol. It is a stylized letter L, £, coming from the word libra, a Latin word for a balance scale that is also the origin of the astrological sign Libra. The pound used to be worth one pound of silver, and the currency is still sometimes referred to as sterling or pounds sterling.
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While pounds used to be divided into a complex array of smaller currencies, today a pound is divided into 100 units known as pence, abbreviated with the letter p. An amount in pounds and pence can be written with a decimal point, similar to U.S. dollars, such as £2.54.
Pound Symbol on a Mac
To type the pound symbol on a Mac, simply hold down the Option key and press the key with the numeral three and the number sign, #. Somewhat confusingly, the # sign is also sometimes referred to as a pound sign on a keyboard or phone, and this can be a good way to remember that you should hit Option and the pound sign on a Mac to type a British pound symbol.
Using Any Character on Macs
If you're not sure how to type a particular character on a Mac, you can open the Character Viewer app and find it there to copy and paste into your document. Open the Character Viewer by holding down the Command and Control keys and pressing the space bar while you are in the application where you want to use a particular symbol.
Then, scroll through the menu that appears or use the search box to find the character you are looking for by sight or by name. When you see the proper character, double-click the character and it will be inserted into your document.
If you're on a Windows computer, you can use a similar application called Character Map to find the character you need. On most modern phones, you can use the keyboard app to choose any character you may need, including currency symbols.
Finding a Character Online
If you're on a system you're not that familiar with and need to use a character that's not on your keyboard, you can look for it online and copy and paste it into your document. Open your web browser and type the name of the character, such as the British pound symbol, into a search engine such as Google or Bing and scroll through the results until you find the character.
Then, select it with your mouse or touchscreen to copy it and paste it into your document where you need it to go. Remember that you may need to use a paste without formatting option to put the character in the font and text size that matches the rest of your text.
Once it is in your document, you can copy and paste it within the document if you need it again without needing to return to your web browser.