How to Type an Underscore on a Computer

Introduction: What is an Underscore?

An underscore is a character used in computer keyboards and programming to represent a blank space between words or to signify a special meaning in certain contexts.

1. How to Type an Underscore on a Computer Keyboard


In order to type an underscore on a computer keyboard, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Locate the underscore key on your keyboard. On most keyboards, it is located just above the hyphen (-) key.

Step 2: Press and hold the Shift key on the keyboard.

Step 3: While holding the Shift key, press the underscore key. This will create the underscore character (_) on your screen.

Step 4: Release the Shift key.

Now you have successfully typed an underscore on a computer keyboard.

Please note that the specific location and labeling of the underscore key may vary depending on the keyboard model and layout.

It is important to differentiate the underscore character (_) from the hyphen (-) or dash character. While they may appear similar, they serve different purposes in computer programming and typing in general.

The underscore character is widely used in programming to represent spaces between words in variable names, file names, URLs, and other contexts. For example:


This is a common naming convention in languages like Python and JavaScript, where variable and object names are often written in lowercase with words separated by underscores.

Additionally, the underscore character may have special meanings in certain programming languages or frameworks. For instance, in Ruby on Rails, an underscore is used to separate words in a database table name, which corresponds to a model name.

Overall, the underscore is a versatile character that plays a significant role in computer programming and typing, allowing for clear and readable naming conventions.

2. Alternative Uses of the Underscore in Programming

Underscore in Programming

Besides representing spaces between words, the underscore character has alternative uses in programming. Let’s explore some of them:

1. Placeholder Variable: In some programming languages, such as Python, the underscore character can be used as a placeholder variable. It indicates that the value of that particular variable is not needed or will not be used further in the program. For example:

“_, b = 5, 10”

In this scenario, the underscore is used to assign the value 5 to a dummy variable, while the value 10 is assigned to the variable b.

2. Ignoring Values: The underscore can be used to explicitly ignore certain values returned by functions or assigned during unpacking. For instance:

“x, _, y = (1, 2, 3)”

Here, the underscore is used to ignore the second value (2) from the tuple during the unpacking process.

3. Internationalization Functions: In some programming libraries, such as gettext in Python, the underscore is used as a function name. It serves as a shorthand for translation and localization functionalities. For example:

“translated_text = _(original_text)”

This usage allows developers to easily mark strings for translation within their codebase.


The underscore character is a versatile and commonly used symbol in computer keyboards and programming. It serves multiple purposes, including representing spaces between words, indicating placeholder variables, ignoring certain values, and enabling internationalization functionalities.

Knowing how to type an underscore on a computer keyboard is essential for various programming tasks, as it contributes to the readability and clarity of code. By following the simple steps mentioned earlier, you can easily incorporate this useful character into your programming endeavors.

Using an Underscore in File Naming

Using an Underscore in File Naming

When naming files on a computer, using an underscore instead of spaces is highly recommended. This practice ensures compatibility across various systems and applications, making it easier to locate, organize, and access files in a fast and efficient manner.

In computer programming, file naming conventions play a crucial role in maintaining file organization and ensuring seamless functionality. The use of underscores, also known as underscore notation, becomes particularly important when dealing with programming languages or software that require specific file naming formats.

Underscores are commonly used to replace spaces in file names. This is because spaces can sometimes cause confusion and compatibility issues, especially in contexts where space characters are considered as separators between different elements, such as in command line interfaces or programming coding.

By using underscores in file names, you create a visually distinct separation between words, making them easier to read and interpret. For example, if you have a file named “Project Report 2022.docx,” it is much more efficient to name it “Project_Report_2022.docx.” This simple adjustment removes any ambiguity and ensures that the file can be accessed without any unexpected issues.

Furthermore, another advantage of using underscores instead of spaces in file names is that it allows for better compatibility across different operating systems and computer platforms. Some operating systems, such as Unix-based systems, prefer the use of underscores or hyphens instead of spaces. By adhering to this convention, you ensure that your files can be easily shared and accessed across various platforms.

When it comes to web development, using underscores in file names is often recommended for naming images, CSS files, and other web-related assets. The underscore convention stems from the fact that spaces are not valid characters in URLs. Therefore, replacing spaces with underscores ensures that the file names can be properly interpreted and accessed when constructing website links.

When using underscores in file naming, it is important to adhere to a few guidelines to maintain consistency and readability:

1. Use lowercase letters: It is preferable to use lowercase letters when incorporating underscores in file names. This is considered a best practice in programming and web development, as it enhances readability and avoids potential case sensitivity issues.

2. Keep it simple: Avoid using excessive or unnecessary underscores in file names. Stick to using a single underscore to separate words for clarity and ease of use.

3. Be descriptive: Utilize meaningful file names that accurately reflect the content or purpose of the file. This makes it easier to locate specific files and understand their context without having to open them.

4. Avoid starting or ending file names with underscores: While the use of underscores within the file name is highly recommended, starting or ending a file name with an underscore may cause compatibility issues on certain platforms or systems.

Overall, using underscores in file naming is a simple yet effective practice that greatly improves file organization, compatibility, and accessibility. By following the guidelines mentioned above, you can ensure that your files are easily understood and compatible with a wide range of systems and applications.

Typing an Underscore on a Keyboard

Typing an Underscore on a Keyboard

To type an underscore on a computer keyboard, simply press the Shift key and the hyphen key located on the same row as the numbers, usually next to the zero.

When typing on a computer, the underscore character “_” is a commonly used symbol. It is primarily used in computer programming, website development, and online communication. The underscore has various functions and purposes, such as separating words in file or folder names, indicating spaces when typing HTML code, or even serving as a wildcard in programming languages. Knowing how to type an underscore is essential for anyone using a computer regularly.

Locating the Hyphen Key

Hyphen Key Location

The hyphen key is typically found on the computer keyboard’s main typing section, usually on the same row as the numbers. It is commonly located next to the zero key and shares the same keycap space with the hyphen/dash character “-“. To access the underscore character, you need to press the Shift key simultaneously with the hyphen key. By doing so, the hyphen character will be transformed into an underscore character on your screen.

It is important to note that the exact location of the hyphen key may vary slightly depending on the keyboard manufacturer and model. However, on most standard English keyboards, you will find the hyphen key in the top row, usually between the “0” and “=” keys.

Using Shift for Capitalization

Shift Key Location

The Shift key is a modifier key on a keyboard that allows you to type capital letters, symbols, and additional characters. When combined with specific keys, like the hyphen key, it modifies the output character. By pressing the Shift key simultaneously with the hyphen key, you can easily create an underscore character.

The Shift key is typically found on both sides of the keyboard, usually labeled with an upward arrow or the word “Shift.” It is often located at the bottom-left and bottom-right corners of the main typing section. Pressing and holding the Shift key while pressing the hyphen key will give you the underscore character, allowing you to type it effortlessly.

Additional Methods to Type an Underscore

Alternate Methods to Type an Underscore

While using the Shift key and hyphen key is the most common way to type an underscore, there are a few alternative methods you can try, depending on your keyboard layout and operating system.

If you are using a laptop or a compact keyboard without a dedicated number pad, you may find that the hyphen key is merged with another symbol or located in a different position. In such cases, you can use the on-screen keyboard, which can be accessed through the operating system’s accessibility options. The on-screen keyboard usually provides you an easier way to access the underscore character.

Additionally, some operating systems and software applications allow you to insert special characters, including the underscore, by using key combinations or shortcuts. For instance, in Windows, you can typically use the ALT key in combination with the numeric keypad to type special characters. However, these methods may vary depending on the software or operating system you are using, so it’s recommended to refer to the respective documentation or search for instructions specific to your setup.

In conclusion, typing an underscore on a computer keyboard is done by pressing the Shift key simultaneously with the hyphen key. This simple key combination allows you to use the underscore character in various contexts, including programming, website development, and online communication. Remember to always locate the hyphen key on your specific keyboard layout and familiarize yourself with alternative methods if necessary. Mastering the skill of typing an underscore will undoubtedly enhance your computer usage experience.

Alternatives to Using an Underscore

Alternatives to Using an Underscore

While underscores are widely accepted, there are alternatives such as using camel case, hyphens, or no spaces at all, which may be more appropriate depending on the context or personal preference.

Camel Case

Camel Case

Camel case is a naming convention where words are joined together without spaces, but each word starts with an uppercase letter except for the first word. For example, “camelCase” or “myVariableExample”. This alternative is commonly used in programming languages such as Java or JavaScript.

Camel case can provide a visually appealing and concise way to write code or name variables. It helps maintain readability, especially when the names are composed of multiple words. However, it may require some practice for newcomers to get used to this convention.



Using hyphens as word separators is another alternative to underscores. This naming convention is often seen in URLs or file names, where spaces are not allowed. For example, “my-file-name” or “website-url”.

Hyphens can enhance readability by clearly separating words, making the text easier to understand. This convention is commonly used in website URLs as it provides a visually appealing and user-friendly format. However, it may not be suitable for all contexts, especially when working with programming languages that have specific naming conventions.

No Spaces

No Spaces

Another alternative to using an underscore is simply omitting spaces between words. This approach, often seen in book titles or headlines, is known as “no spaces” or “spaces removed”. For example, “TheQuickBrownFox” or “BreakingNews”.

Using no spaces can create a visually striking effect, especially in titles or slogans. However, it may not be suitable for all scenarios, particularly when the text needs to be easily readable or when following specific naming conventions.

In conclusion, while underscores are a widely accepted method of representing spaces on computers, there are alternative options such as camel case, hyphens, or simply removing spaces altogether. Each alternative has its advantages and can be used depending on the specific context or personal preference. It’s important to consider readability, conformity to naming conventions, and the intended purpose when deciding which method to use.

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