Currency sign (typography)

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¤
Currency sign
In UnicodeU+00A4 ¤ CURRENCY SIGN (HTML ¤ · ¤)
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The currency sign ¤ is a character used to denote an unspecified currency. It can be described as a circle the size of a lowercase character with four short radiating arms at 45° (NE), 135° (SE), 225° (SW) and 315° (NW). It is raised slightly above the baseline. The character is sometimes called scarab,[1] or the pillow symbol.

History[edit]

The symbol was first encoded for computers in 1972, as a place-holder for national currency symbols such as the dollar sign, in national variants (ISO 646) of ASCII and the International Reference Variant.[2] It was proposed by Italy[3] as an alternative (to the dollar sign) at 0x34. In reality, most national standards retained the dollar sign as too important.[1]:6 (ASCII and ISO646 were specified for 7-bit encoding, which allowed for just 96 printable characters (and 32 control codes).

The introduction of 8-bit encoding and the ISO/IEC 8859 code pages meant that all major national currency symbols could be accommodated. When ISO 8859 was standardized, it was placed at 0xA4 in the Latin, Arabic and Hebrew character sets. There was not room for it in the Cyrillic set, it having been sacrificed for the section sign (§),[a] and it was not included in all later added Latin sets. In Soviet computer systems (usually using some variant of KOI character set) this symbol was placed at the code point used by the dollar sign in ASCII. Latin 9 replaced it with the euro sign, , but this standard failed to gain significant acceptance given the dominance of Microsoft's Windows-1252 code page. In the modern era, the Unicode standard gives each of the two symbols its own unique code point across all platforms.

Other uses[edit]

In travel agencies, where it is known as the "pillow symbol", the character appears on the specialist keyboards used with booking terminals.[6]

The symbol is used as a non-printing "end of cell" marker for tables in Microsoft Word.[7]

Unicode[edit]

It is represented in Unicode as U+00A4 ¤ CURRENCY SIGN (HTML ¤ · ¤)

Keyboard entry[edit]

The symbol is available on some keyboard layouts, for example French, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian.[8]

Otherwise it may be typed

  • in Windows using Alt+0164
  • In Linux as Composeox
  • in Linux and Chrome OS using Ctrl+⇧ Shift+u  A4space
  • using \textcurrency in LaTeX.

OS-specific[edit]

The currency sign was once a part of the Mac OS Roman character set, but Apple changed the symbol at that code point to the euro sign in Mac OS 8.5. (In pre-Unicode) Windows character sets (Windows-1252), the generic currency sign was retained at 0xA4 and the euro sign was introduced as a new code point, at 0x80 in the little used (by Microsoft) control-code space 0x80 to 0x9F.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ ISO-9959-5 was adopted from ECMA-113, beginning with ECMA-113's 1988 edition. Although the 1988 edition[4] and the 1986 edition[5] (KOI8-E) have very different layouts, their repertoires are very similar, differing only in that the 1986 edition has a universal currency sign and the 1988 edition has a section sign.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bemer, Robert William (1980). "Chapter 1: Inside ASCII". General Purpose Software (PDF). Best of Interface Age. 2. Portland, OR, USA: dilithium Press. pp. 1–50. ISBN 0-918398-37-1. LCCN 79-67462. Archived from the original on 2016-08-27. Retrieved 2016-08-27, from: Bemer, Robert William (May 1978). "Inside ASCII - Part I". Interface Age. Portland, OR, USA: dilithium Press. 3 (5): 96–102., Bemer, Robert William (June 1978). "Inside ASCII - Part II". Interface Age. Portland, OR, USA: dilithium Press. 3 (6): 64–74., Bemer, Robert William (July 1978). "Inside ASCII - Part III". Interface Age. Portland, OR, USA: dilithium Press. 3 (7): 80–87.
  2. ^ "ISO 646 (Good old ASCII)". czyborra.com. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  3. ^ "Character histories - notes on some Ascii code positions". jkorpela.fi.
  4. ^ Standard ECMA-113 - 8-Bit Single-Byte Coded Graphic Character Sets - Latin/Cyrillic Alphabet (PDF) (2 ed.). European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA). 1988-06-30.
  5. ^ Standard ECMA-113 - 8-Bit Single-Byte Coded Graphic Character Sets - Latin/Cyrillic Alphabet (PDF) (1 ed.). European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA). 1986-06-26.
  6. ^ Apollo® for Travel Professionals (PDF). Galileo International LLC). 2007. p. 1.4. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  7. ^ Suzanne S. Barnhill. "Word's non-printing formatting marks: cell markers". ssbarnhill.com.
  8. ^ "IBM Globalization – Keyboard layouts". ibm.com. 2013-11-11. Archived from the original on July 3, 2018. Retrieved 2016-04-13.