The Mathematical Symbol "Percent Sign (%)"

The "Percent Sign" Symbol (%): A Common Metric for Ratios

In everyday language and technical discourse alike, the % symbol – widely known as the "Percent Sign" – is omnipresent. This versatile symbol represents a ratio in terms of parts per hundred, making it an indispensable tool for expressing proportions in an intuitive manner. Let's explore the ubiquitous % symbol and its wide-ranging applications.

Unpacking the % Symbol

The term 'percent' stems from the Latin 'per centum', translating to 'by the hundred'. When we use the % sign, we're effectively communicating a ratio based on a denominator of 100.

Example 1: Financial Transactions

If a store offers a discount of 20% on a product, this means that the price is reduced by 20 parts of the original 100 parts of its price. So, a product priced at $100 would be available for $80 after applying the discount.

Example 2: Data Analysis

When analyzing survey results, if 45% of respondents prefer option A, this indicates that 45 out of every 100 participants chose that option.

Applications of the % Symbol

The % symbol's practicality ensures its presence across numerous fields:

  • Finance: For interest rates, investment returns, and discounts.
  • Statistics: To express data as a fraction of a whole.
  • Science: In fields like chemistry or biology, to indicate concentration or growth rates.
  • Everyday Life: When discussing anything from tax rates to milk fat content.

Its adaptability and intuitiveness make it one of the most universally recognized and utilized symbols.

In summary, the % symbol is foundational to our understanding and communication of proportions and ratios. It serves as a bridge between mathematical concepts and real-world applications, reinforcing its status as an emblem of both simplicity and utility.

Mathematical symbol 'Percent Sign'

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Codes for the % Symbol

The Symbol%
Alt CodeAlt 37
HTML Code%
HTML Entity%
CSS Code\0025
Hex Code%

How To Insert the % Symbol

(Method 1) Copy and paste the symbol.

The easiest way to get the % symbol is to copy and paste it into your document.

Bear in mind that this is a UTF-8 encoded character. It must be encoded as UTF-8 at all stages (copying, replacing, editing, pasting), otherwise it will render as random characters or the dreaded �.

(Method 2) Use the "Alt Code."

If you have a keyboard with a numeric pad, you can use this method. Simply hold down the Alt key and type 37. When you lift the Alt key, the symbol appears. ("Num Lock" must be on.)

(Method 3) Use the HTML Decimal Code (for webpages).

HTML TextOutput
<b>My symbol: &#37;</b>My symbol: %

(Method 4) Use the HTML Entity Code (for webpages).

HTML TextOutput
<b>My symbol: &percnt;</b>My symbol: %

(Method 5) Use the CSS Code (for webpages).

CSS and HTML TextOutput
span:after {
content: "\0025";}
<span>My symbol:</span>
My symbol: %

(Method 6) Use the HTML Hex Code (for webpages and HTML canvas).

HTML TextOutput
<b>My symbol: &#x0025;</b>My symbol: %
On the assumption that you already have your canvas and the context set up, use the Hex code in the format 0x0025 to place the % symbol on your canvas. For example:
JavaScript Text
const x = "0x"+"E9"
ctx.fillText(String.fromCodePoint(x), 5, 5);


(Method 7) Use the Unicode (for various, e.g. Microsoft Office, JavaScript, Perl).

The Unicode for % is U+0025. The important part is the hexadecimal number after the U+, which is used in various formats. For example, in Microsoft Office applications (e.g. Word, PowerPoint), do the following:
[Hold down Alt]
[Press x]
(The 0025 turns into %. Note that you can omit any leading zeros.)
In JavaScript, the syntax is \uXXXX. So, our example would be \u0025. (Note that the format is 4 hexadecimal characters.)
JavaScript TextOutput
let str = "\u0025"
document.write("My symbol: " + str)
My symbol: %