The cent symbol (¢) is used when writing about U.S. currency to refer to a particular number of cents, usually when dealing with amounts less than $1. You can type a cent sign on most computers running Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS, and you can find the symbol on keyboards for Android and iOS smart phones. If all else fails, you can search for the cent symbol online and copy and paste it into your message or document.
Cent Sign and Unicode
The cent sign is a commonly used symbol for the word cents, frequently used in price listings and advertisements for amounts smaller than $1. For example, 52 cents can be written as 52¢ as well as $0.52. It's also used by other cent-like units in other currencies, such as Mexican centavos.
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It often looks cleaner to write a value in cents using the cent symbol rather than doing a cents-to-dollars conversion with a leading zero amount of dollars. The problem is that the cent symbol isn't found on most keyboards, meaning it can't be typed directly by pressing a labeled key on a keyboard.
It is, however, part of Unicode, which is the international standard for representing text on computers, smart phones and other digital devices. That means that most modern machines can display a cent sign, and there are ways to enter it digitally.
Cent Sign on Microsoft Windows
You can type a cent sign in most programs on Microsoft Windows using the Alt code for the cents sign, meaning a numeric code that you type while holding down the Alt key on your keyboard.
The alt code for this symbol is 0162, so you hold down the Alt key and type 0162 to enter a cent sign.
If you don't know the Alt code for a cent sign or any other symbol, you can access it using the Windows Character Map utility. To open this program, click the search box in the Start Menu or on the taskbar and type Character Map, clicking the result that pops up. Search through the list of characters by scrolling or by typing cent into the search box. Use the provided tools to copy the character into your computer's clipboard and then paste it into another program.
You can also search for the name of the desired symbol on a search engine such as Google or Bing and copy and paste it from the web results.
Cent Sign on Apple macOS
You can type a cent sign on Apple macOS using a keyboard shortcut. Hold down the Option key on your keyboard and press the number 4. That key also has the dollar sign ($) on it, which may make it easier to remember that it's associated with U.S. currency.
To insert characters in general when you don't know a keyboard shortcut, use Apple's built-in Character Viewer. Pop it up by holding down the Control and Command keys and pressing the Space Bar where you want to insert the symbol.
Search through the menu for the symbol you want using the search box or by scrolling through the list. Click the symbol you want to insert it into the program you're using. If you want to reuse a symbol, reopen the Character Viewer or copy and paste it.
Cent Sign on Smart Phones
Most keyboards for iOS and Android smart phones let you access a cent sign.
On iOS and Android devices, press and hold the $ symbol on the virtual keyboard to access other currency symbols, including the cent sign. Tap the cent sign or another currency symbol you need.