What Are Symbols on Laptops?

By Kay Ireland

If you're new to using a laptop, some of the symbols found around the keyboard and laptop might befuddle you. The symbols identify the various purposes of certain buttons, ports and plugs so you know how to use your laptop. By better understanding what each grouping of symbols mean, you'll know how to interact with your computer to unlock its full functionality, regardless if you're using your laptop for work or personal applications.

Connectivity Symbols

Your laptop uses symbols to denote Internet connectivity, especially if your computer came with built-in Wi-Fi access. The symbol for connectivity is traditionally a triangular shape with three bars which denote the level of connectivity. You might also see a symbol to toggle your Wi-Fi on and off, which often resembles a tower with a dot on the top. These symbols might light up when you're connected to let you know when you can and can't access the Internet.

Port Symbols

Your laptop can be connected with other devices, such as webcams, flash drives, external hard drive and storage device, digital cameras and a host of other accessories to increase functionality, which means your laptop has ports where other accessories are tethered. Look for as USB symbol made up a three-pronged arrow to plug in items that use a standard USB plug. Other ports are denoted using a small phone to attach a phone line and a monitor symbol and keyboard symbol to attach an external monitor and keyboard, respectively,

Media Symbols

If you use your laptop for media consumption, you'll need to understand the various sound symbols on your laptop. If you have volume that can be adjusted using keyboard keys, these are usually denoted by a small horn speaker and decreasing or increasing lines for lower or higher volume. You might also have a mute button denoted by a speaker with an "x" in front. Around the edges of your laptop, you'll see symbols for headphones to label the headphone jack and you might also have a jack with a microphone for a mic input. Your keyboard might also have shortcut keys to toggle media, such as play (a sideways triangle), skip (two sideways triangles with a line denoting the direction of the skip forward or backward), stop (a square), and pause (two vertical lines).

Power Symbols

The power symbols on your laptop are some of the most important, because they show where and how to keep your battery charged. A small plug symbol is usually located beside the power plug for your laptop, but your actually battery status is shown by a battery filled to represent the amount of power you have left, located on your laptop screen desk tray.