Octothorpe but for letters?
September 20, 2019 8:06 AM   Subscribe

My partner was just making a table that had a column containing only single letters. If it were containing only numbers, you might head that up with a #. Is there an analogous symbol for letters?
posted by hollyholly to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The only thing I've seen is A-Z.
posted by Melismata at 8:11 AM on September 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

Or maybe ABC. Or "Alpha." But I don't know of a symbol.
posted by papayaninja at 8:12 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't think there's a single symbol for it. "A-Z" would probably be clearest, or even just "A" if you want the column header to be a single symbol. 🔠,🔡, or 🔤 could work if you're willing to step into emoji. Maybe an enclosed A variant, like one of 🄰🅐🅰.
posted by wanderingmind at 8:42 AM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was gonna say just "A" but was afraid of it being confused with a row A right below the header. I think wanderingmind has it with a Unicode enclosed A. Don't use Emoji.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:13 AM on September 20, 2019

Either A-Z or abc is what I've ever seen.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:28 AM on September 20, 2019

Unless there's also a competing set of actual numbers, to me # itself would be a sensible header for a column of letters used to identify things.
posted by dusty potato at 9:43 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have to disagree, I’d find the # confusing for a column of letters. I only associate it with numbers.

I’d go with abc.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:55 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also like A-Z or AZ or ABC, but if you insist on a single character, what about *? It's the "other symbol" to # on a phone, so one could make the analogy #:* as 0-9:A-Z.
posted by ubiquity at 10:01 AM on September 20, 2019

I've seen "@" used for this.
posted by ewok_academy at 11:02 AM on September 20, 2019

I’ve seen the lowercase Greek alpha used that way.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:55 PM on September 20, 2019

posted by Fuego at 1:18 PM on September 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

I don't know of the exact equivalent to # in this case, but the ampersand is something of an "extra letter" that technically is/was part of the alphabet. I haven't ever seen it used as a table heading, to be fair. I like the ⍺ (lowercase alpha) and @ suggestions; you could also try X or Z, assuming there aren't other columns with score tallies that might need one of those letters.
posted by saramour at 10:10 AM on September 21, 2019

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