Numero sign
In UnicodeU+2116 NUMERO SIGN (HTML № · №)
See alsoU+0023 # NUMBER SIGN (HTML # · #)

The numero sign or numero symbol, , (also represented as , No, No./no.),[1][2] is a typographic abbreviation of the word number(s) indicating ordinal numeration, especially in names and titles. For example, using the numero sign, the written long-form of the address "Number 22 Acacia Avenue" is shortened to "№ 22 Acacia Ave", yet both forms are spoken long.

Typographically, the numero sign combines the uppercase Latin letter ⟨N⟩ with a usually superscript lowercase letter ⟨o⟩, sometimes underlined, resembling the masculine ordinal indicator, as a single ligature. The ligature has a code point in Unicode as precomposed character, U+2116 NUMERO SIGN.[3]

The Oxford English Dictionary derives the numero sign from Latin numero, the ablative form of numerus ("number", with the ablative denotations of "by the number, with the number"). In Romance languages, the numero sign is understood as an abbreviation of the word for "number", e.g. Italian numero, French numéro, and Portuguese and Spanish número.[4]

This article describes other typographical abbreviations for "number" in different languages, in addition to the numero sign proper.


The numero sign as a single glyph, despite its widespread usage internationally, is not a standard keyboard symbol in virtually any European language. Its substitution by the two separate letters ⟨N⟩ and ⟨o⟩ is common. A capital or lower-case "n" may be used, followed by "o.", superscript "o", ordinal indicator, or the degree sign; this will be understood in most languages.


In English, the non-ligature form No. is typical and is often used to abbreviate the word "number".[2] In North America, the number sign, #, is more prevalent. The ligature form does not appear on British or American QWERTY keyboards.


The numero symbol is not in common use in France and does not appear on a standard AZERTY keyboard. Instead, the French Imprimerie nationale recommends the use of the form "no" (an "n" followed by a superscript lowercase "o"). The plural form "nos" can also be used.[5] In practice, the "o" is often replaced by the degree symbol (°), which is visually similar to the superscript "o" and is easily accessible on an AZERTY keyboard.

Indonesian and Malaysian

"Nomor" in Indonesian and "nombor" in Malaysian; therefore "No." is commonly used as an abbreviation with standard spelling and full stop.


The sign is usually replaced with the abbreviations "n." or "nº", the latter using a masculine ordinal indicator, rather than a superscript "O".[6]


Because of more than three centuries of Spanish colonisation, the word número is found in almost all Philippine languages. "No." is its common notation in local languages as well as English.


In Portugal the notation "n.º" is often used, as in Spain.[7] In Brazil, where Portuguese is the official language, "nº" is often used on official documents.[8]


Although the letter ⟨N⟩ is not in the Cyrillic alphabet, the numero sign is typeset in Russian publishing, and is available on Russian computer and typewriter keyboards.

The sign is sometimes used in Russia in medical prescriptions as an abbreviation for the Latin word numero to denote the number of prescribed dosages (for example, tablets or capsules), and on the price tags in drugstores and pharmacy websites to indicate number of unit doses in drug packages, although the standard abbreviation for use in prescriptions is Н. (Cyrillic "en").


The numero sign is not typically used in Iberian Spanish, and it is not present on standard keyboard layouts. According to the Real Academia Española[9] and the Fundéu BBVA,[10] the word número (number) is abbreviated per the Spanish typographic convention of letras voladas ("flying letters"). The first letter(s) of the word to be abbreviated are followed by a period; then, the final letter(s) of the word are written as lowercase superscripts. This gives the abbreviations n.o (singular) and n.os (plural). The abbreviation "no." is not used, because it might be mistaken for the Spanish word no (no, not). Furthermore, nro. and núm. are also acceptable abbreviations for número. The numero sign either as a one-character symbol (№) or composed of the letter N plus the superscript "o" character (sometimes underlined or substituted by º) is common in Latin America, where the interpolated period is sometimes not used in abbreviations.


In some languages, Nr., nr., nr or NR is used instead, reflecting the abbreviation of the language's word for "number". German Nummer is represented this way, and this language capitalises all nouns and abbreviations of nouns. Lithuanian uses it as well, and it is usually capitalised in bureaucratic contexts, especially with the meaning "reference number" (such as sutarties Nr., "contract No.") but in other contexts it follows the usual sentence capitalisation (such as tel. nr., abbreviation for telefono numeris, "telephone number"). It is most commonly lowercase in other languages, such as Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Estonian and Swedish. Some languages, such as Polish, omit the dot in abbreviations, if the last letter of the original word is present in the abbreviation.

Typing the symbol

On typewriters and computers that do not support this symbol, it is acceptable and commonplace to replace it with the trigraph "No." (letter "N", letter "o", and a period (full stop)).

On typewriters and computers that support the degree symbol a digraph "N°" may be used. If the masculine ordinal indicator is available, the better digraph "Nº" may be used. These result in a passable approximation of the numero sign, but a consistent notation must be used in digital data which must be searchable.

On Russian computer keyboard layout, the № character is available and often located on the 3 key.

In Mac OS X, the character can be typed using "U.S. Extended" and "Irish Extended" keyboard layouts by typing ⇧ Shift+⌥ Option+;. As of macOS 10.13, this combination does not yield the numero symbol when "U.S." or "U.S. International" is chosen. It will only yield the numero symbol when "ABC – Extended" is chosen as the input keyboard.

In X11 (and related, like Linux) systems with a compose key, the character can be typed using Compose, ⇧ Shift+N, O. Alternatively standard XIM style can be used: Ctrl+⇧ Shift+u then 2116↵ Enter.

In Microsoft Windows and HTML in general, the numero sign can be entered by the Unicode input methods № or №.

Technical considerations

U+2116 NUMERO SIGN is provided both for Cyrillic use, where it looks like [semi-cursive "N" followed by raised, underlined small "o"], and for compatibility with Asian standards, where it looks like [angular "N" followed by raised, underlined small "o", followed by a period]. ... Instead of using a special symbol, French practice is to use an "N" or an "n", according to context, followed by a superscript small letter "o" (No or no; plural Nos or nos). Legacy data encoded in ISO/IEC 8859-1 (Latin-1) or other 8-bit character sets may also have represented the numero sign by a sequence of "N" followed by the degree sign (U+00B0 degree sign). Implementations working with legacy data should be aware of such alternative representations for the numero sign when converting data.

— The Unicode Standard.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "no. or No". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  2. ^ a b The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. Oxford University Press. 2008. ISBN 9780199548415.
  3. ^ "№ – Numero Sign (U+2116) symbol, character, icon, html: № – Letterlike Symbols – Unicode character table".
  4. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries – Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar".
  5. ^ Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l'Imprimerie nationale (in French). Imprimerie nationale. 2002. ISBN 978-2-7433-0482-9.
  6. ^ "La corrispondenza italiana: abbreviazioni". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  7. ^ "Lei da Nacionalidade (Consolidado)" [Law of Nationality (consolidated)] (in Portuguese). Diário da República. Portuguese official legislation Web site, with frequent use of "n.º".
  8. ^ Decree no. 9.199, of 20 November 2017, Government of Brazil (in Portuguese). Brazilian presidency Web site, with frequent use of "nº".
  9. ^ "Abreviaturas". Real Academia Española. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  10. ^ "número, abreviatura". Fundéu BBVA. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  11. ^ "The Unicode Standard 5.0 — 15.2 Letterlike Symbols" (PDF). The Unicode Consortium. 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-11. Cite journal requires |journal= (help).