Percent sign (%)

The Percent sign symbolizes expressing percentages or fractions of 100 primarily used in mathematics, especially statistics. In other words, if there are 100 parts to something, 1% is one of them.

There are also symbols related to the percent sign, like the Permille (‰) or the per thousand symbols, along with a Permyriad (‱) or the per ten thousand symbols.

Percent sign

 

Examples of the percent sign

Here are some examples to help you better understand the percent sign.

If we have a cake with 100 parts:

  • 20 parts of it are a fifth of the cake (20%)
  • 25 parts are a quarter of it (25%)
  • 33.3 parts are a third of it (33.3%)
  • 50 parts are half of it (50%)
  • 100 parts are the whole (100%)

Percent sign usage rules

There are a few rules to follow when using percent symbols in content. You must be aware of them and follow them in your writing.

Percent sign placement: Before or after a number?

One of the most frequently asked questions is where the percentage sign should go, Before or after a number?

Percentage signs should always be placed after a number, not before it.
For example, %100 is incorrect, and 100% is the correct placement of the percent sign.

Spacing

There are two different ways to use space with a percent sign:

  • Don’t use a space after it.
  • Use a space after it.

In most style guides, the percentage should not be separated by space. Also the AP style guide changed its recommendation in 2019 to remove spaces before it.

However, ISO 31-0 standards and SI have both prescribed that there should be a space between the number and the percentage.

“Percent” or “%” sign?

In your text, if the percentage is shown in numbers, you must use the percent sign; however, you should write “percent” or “per cent” when it is written in the text.
Below you can find out some examples:

Incorrect: Our revenue increased 20 percent this year.
Correct: Our revenue increased 20% this year.

Incorrect: We must double our capacity by fifty % if our user increase keeps up.
Correct: We must double our capacity by fifty percent if our user increase keeps up.

The more common uses of % are in ads, tables and other places where there is not enough space for typing, and you’ll find “percent” most of the time in papers, researches, etc.

Consider that most of the time, for numbers under 10, use “percent” and write the number as a word, and for numbers over 9, use “%” and write the number as a numeral.

Below you can find out some examples:

Incorrect: Our site traffic increased by almost 9 percent when we changed our banner location.
Correct: Our site traffic increased by almost nine percent when we changed our banner location.

Is a period needed after a percentage sign?

In written form, you can use a period after the percent sign.
But the % symbol cannot be followed by a period, question mark and exclamation mark.

Incorrect: Your services will be better if you increase your payment by 10%.
Correct: Your services will be better if you increase your payment by 10 percent.
Correct: Increasing your payment by 10% will improve your services.

Different percent signs

The following are the different symbols for the percent sign that is used frequently.
Consider your content language and your audience to choose a perfect one that fits your content.

Name Sign Unicode HTML Code
Percent sign % U+0025 %
Fullwidth percent sign U+FF05
Small percent sign U+FE6A
Arabic percent sign ٪ U+066A ٪
Per mille sign U+2030
Per ten thousand sign U+2031
Different percent signs with Unicode and HTML code (entity)

Also, the percent sign emoji was approved in 2018 but has not yet been added to common operating systems like iOS, Android, etc.

How to type the percent (%) symbol?

To write a percent sign in the US layout keyword, you can find the percent symbol on the numeric “5” key.
No matter whether your operating system is Windows or Mac, by pressing the “Shift” key and then pressing “5” you can type the “%” sign.

Percentage sign key on Windows
Percentage sign key on Windows
Percentage sign key on Mac devices
Percentage sign key on Mac devices