How to Type Hashtag on Mac Keyboards (US & UK)

If you are a frequent user of any type of social media or messaging system you are probably familiar with the term hashtag. Since it can categorize and track content on social media, it is a powerful but easy-to-use tool and something you will eventually want or need to use.

The hashtag symbol is easy to find on your Mac keyboard. It’s on the number 3 key and you can see the symbol displayed on the key along with the 3 on most keyboards. To type it on a US keyboard, just press SHIFT+3. On a UK keyboard, press OPTION+3.

My name is Eric and as a long-time software engineer, I know the hashtag as the pound symbol as it has been used in most programming languages. Whether it is called the hashtag, the pound symbol, or the number sign, I can show you where it is and how to type it on a US or UK keyboard.

Keep reading below if you would like to see some more details about the location of the hashtag on Mac keyboards and how to type it on both US and UK versions. I will also discuss what the hashtag and pound symbols are used for and why you might want to use them.

Where is the Hashtag Symbol Located?

The hashtag symbol is the character that looks like a tiny tic-tac-toe board. In some programming languages and on a phone keypad it is also known as the pound symbol. For both US and UK keyboards, the symbol is located in the same place.

It is on the 3 key and you can see it just above the 3 as on the US keyboard below. 

Some older UK keyboards do not show the symbol on the 3 key but it is there. They may only show the pound symbol that is used for money (£). Newer UK keyboards may have both the £ and # symbols displayed with the 3.

In either case the US and UK keyboards both use the 3 key for the hashtag symbol. The difference is in the way that you type it using the US or UK keyboard and we will discuss this next.

How to type the Hashtag Symbol on Mac US and UK keyboards

Typing the hashtag or pound symbol on your keyboard is straightforward, but it is slightly different on the US keyboard than it is on the UK version. 

US Keyboard

For the US keyboard, you will press the SHIFT and 3 keys at the same time.

UK Keyboard

For the UK keyboard, you will need to press the OPTION (or ALT on some older UK keyboards) and the 3 keys at the same time.

Note on UK Keyboard

Some users with a UK keyboard have found that the hashtag was working fine and then suddenly one day it quit working. This is usually due to a macOS update that has reset your keyboard language settings. If this happens it is fairly easy to fix. Just follow the steps below.

Step 1: Click on the Apple Menu and then select System Settings.

Step 2: Select Keyboard.

Step 3: Under Text Input click on Edit to edit the input sources.

Step 4: Click on the + symbol near the bottom.

Step 5: Select English, then British, and click Add.

Step 5: Click on the Done button.

Step 6: Click on the Input Menu on the top right side of the screen and select British.

Your keyboard should now be in UK mode and ready to go.

The Hashtag Symbol

The hashtag is a symbol used in social media. When placed before a word or group of characters, it creates a category that can be used to track subjects, discussions, groups, and more. Searching for a specific hashtag can make it easier to find things you are looking for on a social media platform.

The concept of the hashtag was first used on Twitter in 2007 and quickly spread to other platforms. If you are a frequent user of any type of social media, it’s a good idea to use hashtags in your posts that discuss specific topics. It helps others to find your post easily and groups it together with others that have the same topic.

The Pound Symbol

Before the concept of the hashtag was around, many knew the little tic-tac-toe symbol on the 3 key as the pound symbol. You will also find the pound symbol on your phone’s keypad as shown below.

The pound symbol has been used for various things in the past. It is most commonly used in programming languages and scripting. In some, it denotes a comment line in the code while in others it is used to create a hash table or variable, which could be where the name hashtag came from.


Below are a few questions that are frequently asked when discussing the hashtag or pound symbol. 

Why does the UK keyboard use the Option or Alt key instead of the shift key?

On a UK keyboard the the SHIFT+3 is used to type the pound symbol used to denote money (£). Since this is a commonly used character in the UK, SHIFT+3 was already used for it before the use of the hashtag became so popular. Since SHIFT+3 was already taken, the UK keyboard used OPTION+3 or ALT+3 to insert the hashtag symbol.

Are the hashtag and pound symbols the same as the number sign?

Yes, they are. The number sign is just one more name that is often used for this character. The number sign is usually used as a short way to type the word number rather than spelling out the whole word. For example: What’s your phone #?

What is the ASCII code for the hashtag symbol?

The ASCII code for the hashtag symbol is 35 so in HTML you would display or refer to the hashtag symbol as &#35 (funny that you must use the hashtag symbol in order to display it using the ASCII code). Usually, you can just use the keyboard to type and insert it but there are times you need to display it using one of the codes above.


The hashtag symbol is one that is used frequently, especially on social media. It can be easily seen on US keyboards above the 3 key and it is on the same key on UK keyboards. For US keyboards you need to use the SHIFT key to type it and for UK keyboards you use the OPTION key.

I hope the information above has helped you to find and type the hashtag on your US or UK keyboard. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!

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