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I'm running Ubuntu Server as a virtual machine (using VirtualBox) on my mac.

Normally on the Mac, I'd press alt + 3 to input the hash (#) sybmol.

However, if I do this in my Ubuntu Server's console, it gives me "Unrecognized Command" when inside nano.

How can I input this symbol? I need this to be able to add comments to my apache configuration file.


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Alt + 3? # is Shift + 3, isn't it? – Rob Dec 30 '11 at 14:50
What does normally happen if you press alt-3, e.g. in a text editor? Does it work in bash; is the error just happening in nano? If you enter read in bash, press enter, then press alt-3, what happens? – slhck Dec 30 '11 at 14:50
Consider remapping the character to a different modifier key. In terminals, alt is also used as modifier for keyboard shortcuts. – Daniel Beck Dec 30 '11 at 14:51
@Rob Only if your world ends at the US border. The British Mac keyboard layout uses Shift-3 for the pound character £. – Daniel Beck Dec 30 '11 at 14:52
@AlexCoplan Try using the right alt key, maybe it's Alt-Gr and changes things? – Daniel Beck Dec 30 '11 at 15:20
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Alt is used as Meta on your system. That's why it behaves strangely in nano and bash.

On Ubuntu server (command-line only) with British keyboard layout, you need to press the right alt key to get the hash symbol #: Only the right alt is interpreted as alt-gr by your Linux system, and that's the modifier key required on non-Mac OS systems for the alternative characters on the keyboard.

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Ubuntu 12.04 with UK keyboard, installed on a MacBook Pro. Unfortunately the right-side Alt3 only emits a superscript "2", not the hash, And the left-side Alt3 prints nothing.

Going to System Preferences » Keyboard I can see that my current keyboard is listed as: English (UK, MacIntosh international).

Clicking on the little "keyboard" button at the bottom shows the position of all characters on each key. So for me the hash # is Right-Ctrl|\ (right Alt, pipe and backslash). One of the previous posts said Alt but it was Ctrl

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I just came across this as I'm doing my LPIC and using a MB Pro running CentOS in a VM.

Ended up being CTRL+\

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