Plus Symbol

+ Plus sign indicates that a number is a positive value or it indicates addition. It also indicates the existence of insertion.

In Mathematics, it means, adding 2 numbers and results in sum. It also means that the given number is positive. If the plus sign is put in between 2 numbers, it represents, the 2 numbers are to be summed. It could also be put before a number; it indicates that the given number is greater than 0 (+5). If the plus sign is put after a number, it represents that the given number is greater than the minimum number (18+ meaning all numbers greater than 18.)

In programming languages and in calculator keyboards, plus symbol refers to “ADD”.

The plus symbol also represents concatenation sign for text boxes. For e.g., first name + “  “+last name represents, display first name followed by a blank space and then followed by display of last name.

History of Plus Symbol

The plus is derived from the word plus’s first alphabet P.

The plus symbol did not have any origin, since ages. During the primitive ages, the Greeks indicated addition mainly by just a position. They rarely used the slash sign for addition. Pair of legs walking onwards indicated addition in the prominent Egyptian Ahmes papyrus. The Hindus had no indication for addition, like the Greeks, besides the “yu”, which was adopted in Bakhshali manuscript Arithmetic (dating 3rd to 4th century). One of oldest usage of plus symbol was discovered in the 14th century manuscripts of Nicole Oresme. In Europe, during early 15th century, letter”P” was used. The symbol P with overline, represents plus , appeared in Luca Pacioli’s Mathematics compendium for the first time. This was first published and printed in Venice during 1494.

The initial use of modern algebraic symbol appeared in German algebra manuscripts since 1481. This was located in Dresden library. Johannes Widmann explained and investigated plus symbol. Leipzig, in 1489, issued his book, the name of which was Mercantile Arithmetic, where plus symbol was mentioned. During the same year, Johannes Widmann mentioned plus sign as mer. In modern German language, mer means more. Plus symbol wasn’t used for addition. It was just used to represent surplus. This was mentioned in a book written during 1518 by Henricus Grammateus.

In Britain, the plus symbol was introduced by Robert Recorde (he was the designer of equal symbol) in 1557 in the book The Whetstone of Witte.

Starting since 17th century, in Italy, the plus symbol was accepted by Christopher Clavius, who was an astronomer and Cavalieri.

The plus sign is simplification of Latin word et (while comparing to the evolution of ampersand &).

In the ancient days, everyone used different symbol for plus.  Widman started using the plus symbol as Greek cross (just as we use today), at times the horizontal stroke is bit lengthy than the vertical stroke. This type of symbol was used by Mathematicians like Descartes, Harriot and Recorde. While other Mathematicians like Fermat, Hume and Huygens used Latin cross where the horizontal line is placed such that the crossbar is placed at one end or at the other end. Lastly, some Mathematicians like De Hortega, Halley practiced the ornamental form.

The father of addition was Brahmagupta. This was popular during the medieval Europe known as “Modus Indoram” or Method of Indians.

Parts of Addition

Parts of AdditionPlus sign came in the picture, so as to enable us to easily understand the operation to be conducted.

There are 3 parts in addition – Addend, equal sign, sum.

Addend – Basically they are the numbers, which are to be added together.

Equal sign – It indicates 2 halves of the equation are equivalent.

Sum – The final result.

Here, if you need tools to calculate the sum of 2 numbers or the sum of multiple numbers, you can use our tools: sum of 2 numbers or multiple numbers addition. If the addends are consecutive integers, you can use the sum of consecutive integers calculator. If you know the sum, and want to find out consecutive integers whose sum is equal the sum, you can use the consecutive integers calculator.

Properties of Addition

They are Additive Identity, Associative, Distributive and Commutative.

Additive Identity Property

Adding any number with 0, would result in the number itself.

For example, add 8 + 0. The result is 8.

Associative Property

Regrouping the addends would give the same result.

For example, (3 + 5) + 8 = 3 + (5 + 8).

Distributive Property

Basically it is multiplying the summation of 2 or additional addends with a number, which would give similar result as in if you would multiply each add-end separately with the number and then adding all the products.

For example, 5 *(2+3) = (5*2) + (5*3)

Commutative Property

If the numbers added are in any order, the result would be the same.

For example, add 6, 7. This means 6+7 and 7+6, both would give the same result i.e., 13.

Addition Calculation Process

Mathematics is a subject, which arose with the need to do calculations and addition was necessary to make the calculation process simpler.

Addition of Whole Numbers:

  1. Arrange the numbers and place the column, by place value.
  2. Add the numbers column wise, starting from right to left.
  3. Write the result against each column.
  4. If the sum of any column is greater than 9, then carry the remaining digit to the next adjacent column. The additional digit can be placed in any row of the adjacent column, but preferably place it on the top row.

For example, add 235,456,100,230

Addition of Whole Numbers

Addition of decimal numbers:

This is same as addition of whole numbers. The decimal numbers are arranged and the columns are aligned, by place value. If the number doesn’t have decimal or is a whole number, then that number can be padded with 0s. In case, any number is of 5 digits and other addends are only 3 digits, then add zeros to the beginning of the 3-digit number, so that it becomes 5 digit.

For example, add 230.56, 853.30, 45011

Addition of decimal numbers

Addition of fractional numbers with same denominations:

  1. Write the fractional numbers to be added. In this case, all the denominators (bottom number) have the same value.
  2. Add the numbers only in numerators (top number of each fractional number). The result should be written as the sum of the number in the numerator and the same number for the denominator.
  3. If possible, simplify the fractional result.

For example, add 4/5, 8/5

4/5 + 8/5 = (4+8)/5 = 12/5

Add 2/10, 3/10

2/10 + 3/10 = (2+3)/10 = 5/10 = ½ (after simplifying)

Addition of fractional numbers, with different denominations

1. Cross multiplying the fractions and then adding the results would give the final value of the numerator.

Click here to learn something about multiplication symbol.

For example, add 5/12, 10/30

5 * 30 = 150

12 * 10 = 120

The final numerator value can be obtained by adding these results.

150 + 120 = 270

2. The denominator value of the final result can be obtained, by multiplying the 2 denominator values.

12 * 30 = 360 

3. Combine the final result of numerator value and denominator value.

5/12 + 10/30 = 270/360

The final result can further be simplified. Hence the final result after simplification is ¾.

Addition of fractional numbers, with different denominations

How to Type Plus Symbol

Now calculations are possible even on modern gadgets like a computer, laptop, Macbook, iphone etc., but how to get the plus sign for addition is also essential to know, as otherwise you won’t be able to do calculations on the gadget you own.

type plus symbol in pc windows

How to type a plus sign on the keyboard

On a Personal computer, it can be typed by holding the shift key and then pressing the equal to sign, (which is before the backspace key) on the keyboard. Or press the plus sign button on the right side keyboard directly.

type plus symbol on Mac

How to type a plus sign on Mac

On Macbook running on MacOS, hold the “Shift” keys and then pressing the equal to sign, which is on the top row of the keyboard.

type plus symbol in Iphone

How to type a plus sign on iphone

On iphone, keep pressing 0 on the keypad, until the plus sign appears. Or open keyboard and press ?123 button, then find the #+= button in the lower left corner, press it, you will get the plus sign in next screen.

type plus symbol in Android phone

How to type a plus sign on Android phone

There are two ways, the first, keep pressing 0 on the dial pad, until the plus sign appears.  The other is that open keyboard and press ?123 button, then get the plus sign in numeric keypad window.

type plus symbol in excel

How to type a plus sign in Excel

In Excel, follow the below steps to type plus sign:

  1. Place the cursor on the cell, where the plus sign is to be used.
  2. Right click and select ‘Format cells’.
  3. From the ‘Format cells’ dialog box, click on ‘Custom’.
  4. In the Type text box type, +0
  5. Click on Ok button.
  6. Now, you can type plus sign in this cell, the specific input methods, please refer to the method on personal computer above.

type plus symbol in word

How to type a plus sign in Word

In Word document, follow the below steps to type plus sign

  1. Open a Word document.
  2. Place the cursor, where the plus sign is to be used.
  3. On the top, click on the Insert tab.
  4. Click on ‘Symbols’ option.
  5. Choose “Basic Latin” subset then get the plus sign. (The symbols displayed depend on the version of Word document and the type of the Operating System used.)

Code of Plus Sign

It’s very necessary to know the codes of all signs and also of the plus sign.

Following is the table of codes for the plus sign:

Variants of Plus Symbol

To make calculations more simpler, after the invention of maths symbols, their variants were also created.

+Plus symbol at the beginning of a number. Any number which is greater than 0 is called a positive number. It can be written with plus sign at the beginning of the number or just the number.

Example: +5 and 5, both these numbers are the same. They are greater than 0.

±Plus minus symbol. This symbol shows that there are 2 choices of values.  One can be obtained by addition and other by subtraction.

Circle with plus sign. Circle with plus sign in Maths means direct sum. A B is the abelian group on the set A×B (otherwise called Cartesian product), with operation group, given as (a, b) + (a’ , b’) = (a +a’ ,  b +b’).

It can also be used for an operation, which is likely to be addition. It is not a regular addition of integers. It is called as exclusive OR operation.

++Double plus. Double plus one is a concept of adding 2 consecutive numbers.  Here if the smaller number is doubled or added twice and the result is added by 1.

Example: Add 9, 10

Smaller number is 9. Hence double 9 or add twice to get 18. Add 1 to 18. The final result is 19.

Addition Tricks and Tips

If you know the tricks and tips in mathematics, then you can do it faster.

Jump Technique

Count can be done by making jumps, 2s, 10s to solve the calculation.

Here is the example: 5+13

Instead of counting from 5…..till 13, jump by 10 and then jump by 1, 3 times.

It is basically, 5…..15…16…17…18

Start counting from the bigger number

Example, 2+6

Counting from 2….3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 might be harder. The result is 8

It would be easy to start counting from 6……7, 8. The result is 8.

2+6 and 6+2, both would give the same result.

When the numbers are same, double them

Example: 6 + 6 = 2 * 6 = 12

Adding up-to 10

If there are series of numbers given for addition, check if any numbers sum up-to 10. The numbers needn’t be next to each other.

For example: 8 + 7 + 5 + 2 + 3

In this case, 8 + 2 = 10

7 + 3 = 10 (is another 10). So 10 + 10 is 20. Then add 5 to get the result. 20 + 5 = 25.

Compensation Technique

Compensation means rounding off a number and then taking off the extra number to get the result. This makes the addition process simpler.

Example: 18 + 8

It would be easy to do 20 + 8 = 28. Take off extra number (in this case its 2) to get the result. So the result is: 26

Example: 296 + 120

It would be easy to do 300 + 120 = 420. Take off the extra number (in this case it is 4) to get the result. So it is 416

If the numbers are nearby, double them and then fix

Example: 6 + 7 is almost similar to two 6s, but 7 is 1 number bigger than 6.

So, 6 + 7 = two 6s + 1 = 6 + 6 + 1 = 13

Example: 6 + 8. Here it is equivalent to two 7s. But 6 is 1 smaller than 7 and 8 is 1 bigger than 7. SO it is basically, two 7s, since 1 smaller and 1 bigger gets cancelled.

6 + 8 = “7 less 1 + 7 add 1” = two 7s = 14

Add the 10s Last

Break the given numbers into Tens and Units. Add the units first and then add then to 10s.

Example: 15 + 4

Split 15 into 10s and 1s: 10 + 5

Add the 1s: 5 + 4 = 9

Then, add them to 10s: 10 + 9 = 19

Example:  15 + 13

Split into 10s and 1s: 10 + 5 + 10 + 3

Add 1s: 5 + 3 = 8

Then add then to 10s: 10 + 10 + 6 = 26

Addition Table

Addition can be performed with the help of Addition table.

+ 1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6 7
3 4 5 6 7 8
4 5 6 7 8 9
5 6 7 8 9 10

Example: 2 + 5

Go down to 5th row and then the corresponding 2nd column. The result is 7.

Similarly, if we go down to 2nd row and then the corresponding 5th column, the result is 7.

Aiming 10

While adding 2 numbers, if one number is close to 10, then borrow from the other number to get 10.

Example:  9 + 6

Here, 9 is only 1 away from 10. So borrow 1 from the other (6) so that it becomes 10.

So take 1 from 6: 9 + 1 + 5

Give it to 9: 10 + 5 = 15

Imagine “9 + 1 = 10….. 6 less 1 is 5…… so 10 + 5 is 15.”

Example: 7 + 5

Here, 7 is close to 10. So borrow 3 from the other so that it becomes 10. I.e., 7 + 3 + 2 = 12

Moving backwards is also possible, by making the other number bigger.

Example: 13 + 8

Reduce 13 by 3: 13 – 3 = 10

Increase 8 by 3: 8 + 3 = 11

13 + 8 = 10 + 11 = 21

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some questions which may arise in your mind, in relation to plus sign. We have tried to give you answers to the most commonly asked ones:

  • 1. Is plus sign considered as special character?
    Plus sign and Equal To sign are not considered as special characters.
  • 2. What is the shape of plus sign?
    The plus sign is Cross shape.
  • 3. Why do hospitals have plus sign?
    During an extremity, the plus sign especially when it’s red can easily be visible.
  • 4. Who is father of plus sign?
    Robert Recorde is the person who designed plus sign and introduced it to Britain in 1557.
  • 5. What is double plus?
    It is a technique to add any 2 consecutive numbers. The smallest addend is doubled and then is added by 1.


We have tried our best in this article to touch every aspect related to the plus sign and give you an insight on it and to improve your calculative skills and also to make you faster at calculations. Hope you find this article useful.

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