I have 'Use option key as meta' set in Terminal keyboard settings.

The 3 key makes the British pound symbol (£) when I tap it with SHIFT. This is a cruel joke. I want the real pound symbol (#).

How do type # in Terminal? If there's a way to swap # and £ then I'm in good shape. I use the Terminal for coding, and probably never need to type £ in Terminal.

  • 1
    Change your keyboard input device to Australian - the only change is making shift 3 # stackoverflow.com/a/3977314/151019 I have seen responsed that Irish also works but others say it does not
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 0:13
  • Thanks! Can you post this as an answer so I can vote up and mark correct pronto. I am ecstatic that I can use the computer for programming now. Australian.
    – Max Heiber
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 15:49
  • Please explain why using Australian is different for you than using US. I think they are identical except for the flag. Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 16:23
  • @TomGewecke, as @Mark explained, on the Aussie keyboard Option 3 makes a # (hash/pound). Which is exactly what I was looking for. If there are other differences, I haven't found them yet. The keyboard retains U.K. Macisms such as the prominence of ± and § and causing RSI for programmers who use ``` (tilde) a lot.
    – Max Heiber
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 16:25
  • 1
    Both US and Australian use Shift 3 to make #. If you have time to try US, I would be really curious if you find a difference from Australian. Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 16:50

3 Answers 3


If the only issue you have is that is that Shift-3 should be # then a solution is to change the input source to Australian rather than British.

This is a duplicate of my answer on Stack Overflow

I assume that you have a Mac UK keyboard so Shift-3 is £. On most other keyboards Shift-3 is # as others have said.

The way I get round it is to change the input source to Australian the only difference is that Shift-3 is now # and Alt-3 is £ (or leave as the emacs binding)

Input Source setting was System Preferences->Language&text->Input Source
On later OSX versions (OSX 10.11 definitely but would have been earlier) Input Source setting is System Preferences->Keyboard->Input Source By default this will just show the UK keyboard to see more hit the + at the bottom of the list and add Australian

ABC and US and Canadian English are identical to Australian, if you prefer them. Irish should work too, but it is different on the Option level and has no £.

To quickly change Input Source, use ctrl+space. Holding ctrl after lifting space bar shows the list of all added keyboards.

  • Why is this any different/better than using US instead of British? Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 16:18
  • Because the US keyboard has a different layout to the International oner e.g. enter key is a different size and there are extra keys around e.g above the enter e.g. \ Other keys e.g. ~` | § are in different places. See keyshorts.com/blogs/blog/… for a tricky to read comparison
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 16:28
  • 1
    I think you are confusing hardware with software. The US input source (software) automatically adjusts to create the mapping you see in that blog for US English International (hardware). Isn't that identical to Australian (software)? Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 16:47

That is the real pound symbol ;)

The hashtag one # is opt/3 on a British keyboard layout.
If you want the US layout, you'll have to swap to US English.

  • # is not called “hashtag” either. While it’s often called “hash”, its official name in the ANSI standard defining ASCII is “number sign”.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 17:34
  • @MikeScott - that's also American-influenced, UK English doesn't use it to signify 'number' either. BTW, I called it hashtag ironically, if you hadn't guessed.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 17:41
  • I can't swap to US English layout, the actual keyboard is layed out differently. And unfortunately I can't use Option 3, as I need to use Option a meta in the terminal.
    – Max Heiber
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 15:46
  • @MaxHeiber What do you mean, the keyboard is layed out out differently?? The only difference between Apple US and Apple British is the £/# switch. What kind of keyboard do you have, some other language? Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 16:14
  • 1
    @MaxHeiber If you are using an ISO hardware keyboard, with the extra key next to the z, then the British Input Source and the US Input Source have tilde and backslash in exactly the same places. Tilde on the key next to the z, backslash on the 3rd key after L. On an ANSI hardware keyboard, with no key between z and shift, they are still in the same places for both US and British Input Sources, just under Escape for tilde and 3 keys to the right of P for backslash. Are you perhaps talking about something else, like the differences in the printing on the keys between ISO and ANSI hardware? Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 13:59

On the UK keyboard you can do it by pressing 'shift' and 'function' with the 3 button. no need to change your settings

  • 2
    Doesn’t work for me. What app do you see this in? Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 0:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .