Talk:Vertical bar

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Broken bar on IBM PC[edit]

"The character is usually depicted as a broken bar on IBM PC keyboards to distinguish it from other characters."

On a PC keyboard with a UK layout, the broken bar and solid bar both appear. The broken bar is to the left of the Z, and is the shifted version of a backslash. The solid bar is obtained by holding down AltGr and selecting the ` key (which appears above Tab and to the left of the 1 key).

The weird thing is, though, that pressing the broken bar key produces a solid bar symbol on screen, while pressing the solid bar key produces a broken bar symbol on screen. So the | key produces the ¦ symbol, and vice versa. This behaviour appears to be consistent across different PCs and both on Windows and in a DOS window. Whoever invented this system must have been absolutely nuts. - 19:02, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

The distinction between the vertical bar and the broken bar originated in EBCDIC. No idea what they were thinking. ISO 8859, Unicode, as well as the British Standard keyboard layout all aimed to cover EBCDIC and hence inherited this useless character. (That's also where ¬ comes from!) Since there is no known practical application for the broken bar character, most UK keyboard drivers today map both the broken and the unbroken bar to the ASCII character |. Markus Kuhn 21:31, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
What's the AltGr key??? -- 04:56, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
The AltGr key is a modifier key typically located immediately right of the spacebar on a normal PC keyboard. In case your keyboard is missing it, it can be simulated by holding down the Alt and Ctrl keys together. JIP | Talk 12:28, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Markus, but is there any evidence for the idea that most UK keyboard drivers map both bar keys to the same ASCII character? I don't remember ever using a UK system where they were mapped to the same character (except when using linux instead of Windows), although the key with the solid bar printed on it is always mapped to the broken bar character, and vice-versa. 15:37, 10 September 2007 (UTC)~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Thank you!!![edit]

I am not a newbie user but I have been puzzling over this character for years!!! I have never needed to know it but I could never figure it out either! Its so widely known that I could not find any help for finding the character. Everything assumed you knew where the fudge it was. They never taught this in my computer classes back in the stone age and I felt silly asking other people I knew. Thanks to whomever for finally letting this moron know where the fudge to find this character.

I, too, found it suddenly on a computer...I wondered why Wikipedia would use a character not on a keyboard...

Lunakeet —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lunakeet (talkcontribs) 15:03, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


I think the introduction for this article should be moved to the body somewhere as it doesn't really introduce the symbol.

Unsubtle anti-Blair comment?[edit]

From the discussion of Unix pipes:

egrep -i 'blair' filename.log | sed 's/be clear/lie/g' | more

Or am I missing something? Richard W.M. Jones 17:04, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Same as the dãṛi?[edit]

I'm not sure, but I would think that the dãṛi (।) used in many languages of South Asia would count as a variant of the vertical bar. In those languages, the use of । is equivalent to that of the period/full stop of European languages. Thoughts? --SameerKhan (talk) 18:23, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

vertical bar in wiki[edit]

Should be also a section about the use of vertical bar in wiki:

  • specification of journal cites, book cites
  • specification of figures included
  • specification of personalias.

dima (talk) 04:47, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree. The use of this character is a great help when using brackets [] to link to different articles. I would like to see even a small section on wiki usage.Kude90 (talk) 23:26, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Broken bar?[edit]

I've certainly seen the broken bar, but what is it used for? Not one use is mentioned in this article. It must have been used for something at some point, or why would it have been invented? Dcoetzee 01:06, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

This article seems as though it can't decide whether it is about both the vertical bar and broken bar, or just the vertical bar. On the one hand, the title clearly says Vertical Bar only, and the introduction mentions that the broken bar is a different character. On the other hand, broken bar redirects here, and there is an image of a broken bar in the header. Yet there is absolutely no information about the broken bar here. We need to decide whether a) this article should cover both the vertical bar and broken bar equally, or b) broken bar should be given its own article. (talk) 13:30, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Searching for "|"[edit]

If one types "|" in the search field and clicks either Go or Search, the result is nothing. How can we better assist users in locating this article who don't know the name of the symbol? __meco (talk) 14:25, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately it's common to block symbols like pipe and others in search fields (just look at google) for security reasons (code injection I think). So there probably isn't an easy solution to this.Paulmiko (talk) 21:11, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Original meaning in ASCII[edit]

Why has it been included in ASCII? Did typewriters provide it? If yes, for which purposes? --Chricho ∀ (talk) 13:44, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

needs a history section[edit]

I'm quite curious as to its precise origins and the reasons behind it-- (talk) 01:50, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

The article for Punctuation includes a sentence that reads: "Originally, Sanskrit had no punctuation. In the 17th century, Sanskrit and Marathi, both written in the Devanagari script, started using the vertical bar (।) to end a line of prose and double vertical bars (॥) in verse." But, that probably could use a citation verification. Ca.papavero (talk) 20:18, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

section on use in general non-technical typography?[edit]

In my experience this symbol has become common as a general punctuation mark - for example in email signatures separating someone's name and title, or I just saw it in the subtitle of a book separating two somewhat opposing concepts. I think it is used when there is no particular relationship between two things - where another punctuation mark such as : / ; etc would imply too much. Does anyone agree? Blex (talk) 03:52, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree. I have also seen this symbol used to separate items on one line which would normally appear on separate lines, for example, parts of a postal address (Joe Bloggs | 99 High Street | Exchester | Wessex | England).

I agree, and think its use is usually ridiculous. A dash or comma would nearly always be more appropriate. I get that people like the idea of using a graphical element via keyboard, but code should not be used (DOS/Windows machines will not allow it in filenames). Save a webpage titled with this and any browser will automatically replace it with [space-dash-space]. Which is another annoyance- people often use it without spaces. I just found it in a WP Section title (without spaces!), and will replace it. Sadsaque (talk) 14:32, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────A bit later, but I was just thinking about these points. I notice this styling everywhere now. It's being used largely in copywriting, such as on business cards, posters, infographics, resumes, menus, fliers, postcards, etc. I even see it on websites and blogs. I think many people use it to cram information into a line or space on a page. It could just as well read something like:

Example of vital contact information
Joe Blogs | 99 High Street, Exchester (Wessex), England | (028) 9018 0018 |

It fits all on one space. It's compact. Its readable. It gives vital contact info. Likewise can be used for a business or other organizations on various promotional materials and at the bottom of a website. In many areas of use, this has become more common than use of bullets, stars, squares, triangles, arrows and other symbols. Its more plain, used for space, separation and highlighting. Finally, I even see it used when getting internet search results: "Sony UK | Latest Technology & News | Electronics…" This may reflect coding from the internet; but to a non-technical reader, it just reads as a simple delineated item or textual information. So, I was wondering if this can be added to the article, somehow. Ca.papavero (talk) 20:06, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

Console art interface design?[edit]

Is there any evidence that the broken bar was popularised in early PC computing during the era when ASCII characters were used to create menu screens using equals or hyphen characters for horizontal delineation ? Just a hunch that the vertical broken pipe would have been attractive to interface designers who wanted to mimic a horizontal line of hyphens vertically?

Jbjon (talk) 09:15, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

It may be one of reasons why the ¦  glyph at 0x7C sustained for may years: it relates to in the same way as - relates to . But the initial reason IMHO was simpler: to avoid yet another quasi-homoglyph of sans-serif I and l. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 09:31, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Explaining "Line breaks: pri¦ori|tize"[edit]

The Oxford Dictionaries has guidelines for how to set line breaks for English words, e.g. see prioritize. It seems to differentiate between broken bar (¦) and vertical bar (|). Is this a lexical standard? Is it documented on Wikipedia? The wikipedia article states "The broken bar has hardly any practical application and does not appear to have any clearly identified uses distinct from the vertical bar", but ref. the use in the Oxford Dictionaries, this seems to be wrong. Bjornte (talk) 13:06, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Use in titles of online videos and articles to denote authorship[edit]

A new contemporary online usage of the Vertical bar is to denote authorship in the titles of online media such as videos. For example:

   Latest iSmartphone Review | JohnDoeReviews
   Let's Play Space Invaders! | FredsGamingVideos
   Top 10 Toenail Clippers | BobsTop10s
   3 Hours of Mozart | SonyClassicalMusic

Could you add this usage into the article? -- (talk) 16:31, 10 March 2015 (UTC)