Percent Symbol

%The percent sign is used to specify the percentage. When this sign is placed next to a number, it implies that it is a proportion, which is multiplied by 100. It is also used to denote a ratio or a number as a fraction of 100 (1/100).

The abbreviation of percent sign is ‘pct’. At times even, ‘pc’ is used as abbreviation.

It is also called as percentage. It indicates 100th part of any number.  1% is indicated as 100th part. 100% means the total value, whereas 200% means twice the given number. The square is divided into 100 smaller squares.

Evolution of percent sign

Before 1425, there is no indication of the usage of percent sign. It was derived gradually from the Italian word ‘per cento’ which means ‘for a hundred’. The word ‘cento’ was diminished to 2 circles, which were separated by a horizontal line.

The process of percent sign

When it comes to the percent sign process, it’s a very simple. Just divided by 100 then get the percent sign result.

For example:

One percent: 1 ÷ 100 = 1 %

Ten percent: 10 ÷ 100 = 10 %

One hundred percent: 100 ÷ 100 = 100 %

Two hundred percent: 200 ÷ 100 = 200 %

Convert Percentage to decimals

To get the decimals result, divide the number by 100 or multiplied by a fraction of 100.

Convert percentage to decimals formula: decimals = percentage * 1/100

For example:

5 % = 5 ÷ 100 = 0.05 or 5 % = 5 * 1/100 = 5/100 = 1/20 = 0.05

20 % = 20 ÷ 100 = 0.2 or 20 % = 20 * 1/100 = 20/100 = 1/5 = 0.2

50 % = 50 ÷ 100 = 0.5 or 50 % = 50 * 1/100 = 50/100 = 1/2 = 0.5

100 % = 100÷ 100 = 1 or 100 % = 100 * 1/100 = (100 )/100 = 1

1000 % = 1000÷ 100 = 10 or 1000 % = 1000 * 1/100 = 1000/100 = 10

Convert Decimalize to Percentage

To get the percentage result, just multiply the number by 100, then you can get the answer.

Convert decimals to percentage formula: percentage = decimals * 100

For example:

0.01 = 0.01 * 100 = 1 %

0.1 = 0.1 * 100 = 10 %

0.5 = 0.5 * 100 = 50 %

1 = 1 * 100 = 100 %

2 = 2 * 100 = 200 %

10 = 10 * 100 = 1000 %

Usage of Percent sign in Computer language

Based on programming languages, the percent sign is used in a number of ways.

In Postscript, LaTeX and TeX programming languages, percent is used to indicate line comment.

In BASIC programming language, the percent sign is used after a variable name, to indicate it as integer.

In Perl scripting language, percent sign is used for representing hashes.

In Python, Ruby scripting languages, percent sign is used to indicate a part of template string, which can be replaced with other arguments.

Rules followed while writing percent sign in English

How to type percent sign on pc, mac, iphone, android, excel, powerpoint, word?

Now a days, calculations can be performed in almost all devices for ease. Following are the steps to be performed to type percent sign on various devices:

Type percent sign on PC Windows

On a Personal computer, percent sign can be typed, by pressing the shift key and then press 5, which is at the top of the keyboard.

Or open Num Lock, hold alt key and type 37 on the Num pad , then release the alt key.

The third way, press 25 then type ALT+x button at the same time.

Type percent sign on Mac

On Mac, press Control + Command + Space to open Character Viewer. Then click on ‘Punctuation’ and select percent sign.

Type percent sign on IPhone

On an iphone, percent sign can be typed by pressing on ‘?123’ key. Then, above the ‘ABC’ key, press ‘#+=’ key. Percent sign would be at the top middle row.

Type percent sign on Android phone

On Android phone, percent sign can be typed by pressing the key which has ‘?123’ (on left hand corner). Then find the key which has ‘=\<’. Percent sign would be at the left hand, depending on various versions of android.

Type percent sign on Microsoft office

The Microsoft office has been used as a collective term for Microsoft word, excel, and PowerPoint because all of these applications have the same way to insert the percent symbol. Following the steps given below:

  1. Place the cursor where the percent sign is to be used.
  2. Click on ‘Insert’ tab.
  3. Click on ‘Symbols’ option and then ‘More symbols’.
  4. Select ‘Basic Latin’ for the Subset drop down.
  5. Choose the percent sign and then click on Insert button.

Codes of percent sign

It is very essential to know the codes of all mathematical symbols. Following are the various codes of percent sign.

What are the rules of using percentage?

1. Percent Vs Percentage

Few sources like Merriam Webster said that both percent and percentage can be interchanged. However, the conventional approach tells us to use percent with a number and percentage with no number.

It is always good to use percent at the end of a sentence or the sentence can be rewritten so that the word ‘percent/percentage’ can be avoided. The last approach is not always possible (in case of sports stories), but can be preferred.

2. Percent Vs Percentage Points

In the following example, The interest rates have jumped from 5 to 8 percent.

Would it be correct to use the interest rates have increased by three percent or would it be correct to use interest rates have increased by three percentage points? The last one is appropriate to use. The reason is percent alteration means the ratio of 2 values (new value minus the old value, divided by old value). In this example, it is 8 – 5 = 3 / 5 = 0.6

The easiest method to remember this concept is: if one percentage is subtracted from the other, then percentage points should be used to indicate the difference.

3. Words Vs Symbols

The usage of percent sign or the word percentage depends on each person’s style. It is similar to using numbers in some cases and number names in other.

For example, in Chicago Manual Style, the word percent is used in non-technical contents, whereas percent sign is used in statistical and scientific contents. Numbers are used in all contents.

Difference between percent sign and per mille sign

Percent indicates a part of hundred, i.e., 1/100, whereas Per Mille indicates a part of thousand (1/1000).

Per mille is used to measure the blood alcohol content in few countries. It is also used to express birth rates and death rates. It is symbolised as 0/00.

Percent is used widely in discounts in shops, interest rates of banks etc. It is symbolised as %.

Frequently asked questions of percent sign

  • 1. Who invented percent sign?

    Percent sign was not invented by anyone. Mathematical complications, during the Ancient Roman era, were indicated in fractions of hundred.

  • 2. Is percent sign used before or after the number?

    The percent sign is always used after a number. It is never used before any number.

  • 3. How to write 3/5 as percentage?

    Convert the fraction 3/5 and then multiply by 100. 3/5 gives 0.6, which is multiplied by 100 to give 60. Hence the answer is 60%.

  • 4. What is 70 of 50?

    It means 70 % of 50. This can be written as 70/100, which gives 0.7. Multiply this value by 50. The answer is 35.

  • 5. How many per mille makes 1 %?

    1 % = 10 per mille


This article explains about the Percent symbol in a detailed manner.  It also explains the difference between percent and per mille.  Hope the reader finds this article interesting.

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