currency symbols

currency symbols standard and codes

I do not know if it has ever happened to you that when you need to buy currency to travel to a foreign country, you have doubted the symbol with which the currency is represented. It happened to me personally once when I went to check what price difference existed between the euro and the yen, the currency symbol of Japan. He had been looking for information about the Japanese country where he had to travel for work. When I went to check the prices of public transport in Tokyo on some websites in English, the quantities were expressed with the” ¥ ” currency symbols.

So far so good. But when I went to check the purchase price of the yen, I did not find that symbol in the list of currencies. And of course, inexperienced that at that time it was one, I did not know how to differentiate between the symbol of the foreign currency used and the ISO code that is assigned internationally in the currency market. This is how I discovered that the Japanese yen is called internationally with the code “JPY”.

Foreign currency buying and selling chart. The ISO code for the Japanese yen is “JPY”, “JP” for the initials of Japan and “Y” for the initial of yen . The symbol used for the yen, however, is the “¥” or “円” in Japanese spelling.

World’s main ISO currency symbols codes

The codes used to identify currencies are defined by the International Standards Organization (ISO) and, in this case, currencies, under the ISO 4217 standard . Each code consists of an alphabetic code of three letters and in most cases the first two letters of the alphabetic code representing the country concerned (the two – letter abbreviation for the name of the country defined by ISO 3166- standard 1) and the third letter corresponds to the first letter of the currency name.

Currencies are also represented by a numeric code of three digits and is common in countries that do not use the Latin alphabet. In general, currency code numbers are similar to ISO 3166-1 country code numbers.

And, on the other hand, we can find the symbols assigned to each currency that we find marked, for example, in the prices. Thus, while the symbol with which we represent the euro is “  ”, the code that we will find expressed for the European currency will be “ EUR ”.

Table with some coins and their correspondence in ISO 4217 code and symbol.

This standardization of the codes avoids the confusion caused by some currency names such as dollar, franc, peso or pound, which are used in many countries, but have very different exchange rates . Thus, for example, we can find the United States dollar (USD) and the Australian dollar (AUD) represented with the same symbol “$”, although we can also find the Australian currency with the symbol “A $”.

How to write the euro symbol (€) and other currency symbols on Mac

On Mac, assuming you are using the US keyboard layout, you can enter the dollar sign ($) with the keyboard shortcut “Shift + 4”. What happens if you need to enter the European dollar symbol (€)?

The answer is simple. The keyboard shortcut for the euro sign is “Option + Shift + 2“.

The next question is, what about the British pound (£), the Chinese yen (¥) and many other currency signs?

currency symbol

For other currency signs, we can take the corresponding symbol from the character viewer.

1. Go to “System Preferences -> Keyboard”. On the “Keyboard” tab, check the “Show keyboards and character viewers in the menu bar” field.

2. Then click on the “Input sources” button and select “Show input menu in menu bar“. You should now see a flag in the menu bar.

3. Click on the flag to open the menu and select “Show Character Viewer”.

4. In the left pane of the character viewer, select “Currency symbol”. You will now see the different currency symbols. Just double click on it to add it to the text field.

The curious origin of the currency symbols of money

Few symbols are present in our day to day as the symbols of money. That is why I wanted to ask myself what is the origin of these designs, at least, of the three most famous: the dollar, the pound and the euro.

The dollar

dollar symbols note

The origin of the dollar symbol is the most curious, but also the most imprecise since there are only assumptions that have never been fully proven. 

The main theory has Spain as the protagonist, specifically, it’s silver releases, a currency between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries was the basis of the Spanish monetary system. 

According to this theory, the symbol of the “$” would be a stylization of the Pillars of Hercules that appeared on these coins, which began to spread throughout the American continent after colonization. The vertical bars would be the columns and the S would be the band with the legend “Plus Ultra” that surrounded them. 

This association is even more obvious if we look at other representations of the columns of Hercules, as in this detail of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. 

We can see it in many other classic Spanish buildings such as the Real Alcázar of Seville (left) or the Town Hall of the same city (right): 

Although it originally had two bars, today it is written with one bar. The reason for this change is also unclear, but most likely, typing millions of times has ended up simplifying your image and missing one of the vertical stripes.

Originally it was written with two bars, but it has been simplified to one

The pound

pound symbols note coin

The “Pound Sterling” is so named because its value was originally equivalent to the price of a pound (unit of weight equivalent to about 12 ounces) of sterling silver. But why is the term “Pound” used in English? Because the term originally arose in Ancient Rome, where they used the Latin construction “Libra Pondo” to speak of coins (literally means “one pound of weight”).In Spanish, we continue to use the term Libra, but in English, that term was discarded and they kept the “Pondo” or rather, its English evolution: Pound.

In the upper image, we can see the first symbols that represented the “Libra Pondo”.On the left, we can see how the hasty pen of the scribes could give rise to the horizontal line that joins the two letters. This horizontal stroke is maintained in the current version of the “pound sterling”, although only a stylized L is represented in this: £. 

The euro

euro note

For the choice of this symbol, the European Commission summoned different teams of professional designers who submitted a total of thirty-two proposals. After the choice of the winning design, the other designs were hidden from the public, as the European Commission considered this choice as an internal process and keeps all related files secret. 

The winning design was created by a group of four experts whose identities have not been revealed. However, itis assumed that the original creator was the Belgian graphic designer, Alain Billiet.

Alain Billet, alleged creator of the Euro symbol

Inspiration for the symbol itself came from the Greek Epsilon (ϵ) – a reference to the cradle of European civilization – and, obviously, the first letter of the word Europe. This letter appears crossed by two parallel lines that suggest the stability of the euro.

New currency symbols are continuously created. The Indian Rupee presented its symbol in 2010, chosen through a public competition, and with the rise of cryptocurrencies,

new symbols such as

Bitcoin(₿)

have been created, with a clear influence of the original symbolism of the dollar or

Ethereum

These cryptocurrencies seem to be becoming more and more part of our lives, being able to buy in some establishments or even play online on platforms such as

Other signs and abbreviations

• Certain symbols ($, £, ₡, ₪), as well as conventional letter combinations (Fr, zł, лв), have also been established for many currencies. They mostly apply locally and the ISO code is generally preferable. With few exceptions, this form is also not appropriate to mention the currency itself in a text but is usually accompanied by an amount written entirely in figures (not in letters or mixing numbers and letters).

• In Spain, it is usual for the currency symbol to be postponed to the figure, and in this case it is separated by a space: € 15 . On the contrary, in America it usually goes before , without leaving a space: “The dollar is stable at $ 15,419.”

• The sign is not used in conjunction with the code , as in “The Government must pay USD $ 178 million”, as the unit would be doubling. Here it could have been written “The Government must pay USD 178,000,000 .”

• The Language Academies discourage symbols that combine letters with non-alphabetic signs (such as US $), although they exceptionally admit C $ for the Nicaraguan Cordoba.

4. Combinations of letters, symbols and numbers

• When the coin is not written by name, it is not advisable to give the currency a part in letters and partly as a symbol : it is better 250 USD or $ 250 to $ 250 US.

•  It is also not advisable to give the number part in figures and part in letters if the currency is given as a symbol: $ 7,000,000 or 7 million pesos is better than $ 7 million. The symbols can be used in mathematical expressions where there is an operation: 35 EUR / h. This form of development ( 35 euros per hour ) is preferable to mixtures such as 35 euros / h.

Char Dec Hex Entity Name
8352 20A0   Euro-CURRENCY sample
8353 20A1   COLON SIGNAL
8354 20A2   CRUISE SIGNAL
8355 20A3   SIGN French franc
8356 20A4   LIRA SIGNAL
8357 20A5   MILL SIGN
8358 20A6   SIGN NAIRA
8359 20A7   PESETA SIGNAL
8360 20A8   Rupee sign
8361 20A9   LIVESTOCK SIGNAL
8362 20AA   SIGNAL AGAIN Shekel
8363 20AB   SIGN DONG
8364 20AC € Euro sign
8365 20AD   SIGN KIP
8366 20AE   SIGN TUGRIK
8367 20AF   DRACMA SIGNAL
8368 20B0   GERMAN PENNY SYMBOL
8369 20B1   pesos sign
8370 20B2   GUARANI SIGN
8371 20B3   AUSTRAL SIGNAL
8372 20B4   SIGN hryvnia
8373 20B5   SIGN CEDI
8374 20B6   SIGN LIVRE TOURNOIS
8375 20B7   SIGN SPESMILO
8376 20B8   SIGN TENGE
8377 20B9   SIGN Indian rupee