Currency symbols appear frequently in typeset copy. In the United States it’s the dollar and cent signs that are most commonly used, but others are often seen as well. Here’s a roundup of the currency symbols found in the character complement of most fonts.
The British Sterling, commonly referred to as the pound, is still the currency in England, Scotland and the United Kingdom’s territories. The pound symbol looks like a calligraphic capital L with a crossbar through it. It can be typed on a Mac by pressing option+3. In a Windows environment, the pound symbol is accessed with the alt key+0163.
The yen is the standard monetary unit of Japan. Its symbol looks like a cap Y with a double crossbar through the bottom half. The Mac keystroke for the yen symbol is option+y. Within Windows, the yen symbol is accessed by using the alt key+0165.
The Dutch florin (also called the guilder or gulden) was the basic unit of money in the Netherlands until it was replaced by the euro. The florin symbol looks like a swash lowercase ‘f’. The keystrokes on a Mac for the florin symbol are option+f. In Windows, use the alt key+0131.
Since 2002, the euro has been the exclusive currency of 12 European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Finland, France (except Pacific territories using the CFP franc), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. The euro symbol looks like a capital C with a double crossbar.
Both Apple and Microsoft have included euro symbols in fonts distributed with their operating systems and applications since 1998, and most fonts released since then contain the euro symbol (it replaces the little-used international currency symbol). The euro symbol can be accessed on a Mac by pressing shift+option+2, and within Windows by using the alt key+0128.
Many foundries have remanufactured their font libraries to include the euro mark, and include the symbol in new releases. Others have offered freely available fonts that contain euro glyphs in various weights and styles, designed to blend in with a wide range of typestyles.
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.