What is a plus or minus symbol?
The plus or minus symbol, also called plus or minus sign, is designed like ― ± and is a mathematical symbol with various meanings. For example, in math, the plus or minus symbol generally refers to a choice of exactly two possible values, one of which is received via addition and the other through subtraction. However, in experimental sciences, the plus or minus symbol commonly represents the error or confidence interval in a measurement, often the standardized deviation or even a standard error. The plus or minus symbol may also indicate an inclusive vast of values that reading might have.
In engineering, the plus or minus symbol refers to tolerance, which is the part of the range of values that are thought to be safe and acceptable. They comply with some standard, or even with a contract. In botany, the symbol is mainly used in morphological descriptions to convey the idea of "more or less." In contrast, in chemistry, the plus or minus symbol is used to indicate a racemic mixture. Surprisingly, in chess, the sign of plus or minus indicates a clear advantage for the white player. The complementary minus or plus symbol ― ∓ designates the same benefit for the black player.
How to use a plus or minus symbol
The plus or minus symbol icon as ± is commonly used to indicate when a number must be subtracted and added. It is sometimes used to express two quantities like a+b and a-b as "a±b"; it is also used to refer to a wide range of possibilities, like n ± 10%. However, no matter how a user intends to use the plus or minus symbol, it is better to know how to type the sign on the computer keyboard. The methods vary from the operating system to the operating system of an electronic device.
For instance, if you are using an Apple running macOS, type the sign on Mac keyboard by holding down the keys ― "Option" and "Shift" ― and click the key along with the equal plus signs located on the top row of keys. That shortcut places a plus or minus symbol in a text, web browser, message input, or other software.
However, if you are unsure of how to type the plus or minus symbol on your Mac, then search for the sign in the “Emoji & Symbols” menu bar on macOS. You should access this menu by clicking the "Edit" button menu in any Mac and then choose "Emoji & Symbols." Next, scroll down to find the plus or minus symbol you want. The plus or minus symbol is located in the Math Symbols section.
If it appears that you have the plus or minus symbol you want to use in one place on your PC, like in an existing document or even on an open web site, you might be able to copy the sign and then paste it wherever you want it to appear. Then, highlight the plus or minus symbol, right-click, and choose the "Copy" button in the pop-up menu. Once you put the cursor, right-click again, and then click "Paste." If you do not have the plus or minus symbol handy but still want to use this particular method, you can search for it online.
plus or minus symbol Alt Code
What are Alt Codes for plus or minus sign? Below you can see the Alt code keyboard shortcut that can be used to insert the plus or minus symbol.
- Mac Option Key Shortcut ― Option + Shift + = ;
- Windows Alt Code ― ALT 0177 or ALT 241
- Windows Alt X Code ― 00B1 ALT X
- HTML Entity ― ±
- Named Character ― ±
- Reference ― ±
- HTML Entity, Numeric Character Reference (Decimal) ― ±
- HTML Entity, Numeric Character Reference (Hexadecimal) ― ±
- Unicode Code Point ― U+00B1 ± plus or minus symbol (HTML - ± ±, ±, ±).