Multiplication sign, using '*' or 'x'

by Sarawut Positwinyu   Last Updated January 14, 2018 13:16 PM

In mathematics, the operators provided on keyboard are quite clear for addition, subtraction and divide: + - /.

The multiplication sign * might be familiar as the multiplication for programmer, but I'm not sure about ordinary user. I don't know if I should use * or x for multiplication.

The purpose is to provide user detail of how each field will be used:

enter image description here

One drawback I can think of is if using x might rely on font face and if user changes the font, x might not be appear like multiplication sign.

Also, by the standard * (asterisk) should be used to multiplication, but I'm not sure about its readability.

Answers 5

It's a shame that I found the solution after posting my own question. So I will just share it there. Wikipedia recommends using The HTML entity × which will be resulted in × for multiplication:



Sarawut Positwinyu
Sarawut Positwinyu
November 15, 2011 04:00 AM

It would certainly be a mistake to use the letter x as the multiplication symbol as x itself often denotes an algebraic term:

e.g. compare

x x y = c
x x y = c


x × y = c
x × y = c

The × or × or &#D7; character looks like this: × so it is a proper cross, as opposed to the letter x (ex) or * (asterisk) symbols which are a lazy approach and don't create symmetrical symbols about the major axes.

The × version is simply the friendly version of the same code.

For additional reference, for divide you can also use ÷ or ÷ to get ÷

For minus you might expect to use direct from the normal key, but there is a separate code for that too − − which aligns it vertically with the keyboard plus symbol, so you get ( −+ −+ ) instead of the keyboard minus and plus, which may not be aligned depending on the font ( -+ -+ ).

You can get the plus/minus via ± or ± ± .

There is another Wikipedia entry for the symbol itself, which currently consists of the information below:

(sorry, this is an image - so links are not real!) enter image description here

Roger Attrill
Roger Attrill
November 15, 2011 09:30 AM


x x y = c - Bad for obvious reasons

x × y = c - Also bad, but less so. It looks like (x^x)*y (x raised to the x, times y)

x * y = c - I would consider this the obvious choice, especially since using dot for multiplication is standard for Pre-Algebra and beyond. (Roughly age 13 or 14 and older in the US)

November 15, 2011 15:13 PM

In addition to all of the other pro voices for *, the numeric keypad on my keyboard has a * for times. That's another argument, IMO, for using it.

Bill Dagg
Bill Dagg
November 16, 2011 16:52 PM

Just hold Alt key and type 0215 to type × sighn.

Voice Reflection
Voice Reflection
January 14, 2018 12:48 PM

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