Most of the differences between European and US keyboards make sense for reasons of localisation. However, one thing I've always felt the US keyboards did better (and all EU keyboards I've used seem to have this flaw), is having the ~ symbol on beside the number 1. EU keyboards instead have the ` key in that spot. For me to type a tilde, I have to press shift+# which is beside the enter key, an awkard combination for a symbol I use rather frequently.

Uses of ~:

  • Approx
  • Home Directory on *x systems

Uses of `:

  • Executing shell commands in PHP
  • Escaping things on Stack Overflow and co.

Now as you can see, your likely to use your home directory on a command line more often that executing shell commands in PHP, and your about a billion times more likely to use approx than to escape something on SO/SF/SU.

Does anyone know the reason why these keys are switched?

  • 3
    maybe I am not reading the question properly, but on US keyboards, the key next to the 1 is also backtick. It's only tilde if you press shift.
    – TM.
    Jul 24, 2009 at 20:39
  • Ah, I had been led to believe that it was tilde first on US keyboards, because on all gaming forums talking about accessing consoles, I see the instructions say Press the tilde key (` for european keyboards).
    – Macha
    Jul 24, 2009 at 21:25
  • Shift-Accent is also tilde for Australian keyboard layouts Dec 1, 2009 at 16:59
  • What I want to know is what this weird ¬ character is on UK keyboards that one gets by typing SHIFT+backtick, and how does one get the broken pipe, which is the third symbol on that key?
    – paradroid
    Apr 22, 2012 at 15:58
  • 2
    @paradroid It's one possible symbol for not in logic. ¬A + ¬B would be (!a || !b)
    – Macha
    Apr 22, 2012 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


On US keyboards, ~ is the same as Shift`. From what I can see, it looks like the opposite is the case on EU keyboards, so the functionality is practically the same. Is that incorrect?

  • Shift+` is ¬ on my UK keyboard. ~ is on Shift+# which is right beside the Return key on the asdf row.
    – Sam Hasler
    Jul 24, 2009 at 23:16
  • 1
    @jtbandes: Your comment about EU keyboards is incorrect; Sam is correct. The key to the left of 1 is '`' (backtick); pressing shift gives '¬'. Also @Macha: this doesn't appear to answer your question, so why is it the accepted answer? Jul 25, 2009 at 16:14
  • @Steve: hm, ok, thanks for clarifying. My guess, then, is that the Macha was looking for the "`" on US keyboards, so this answered the question.
    – jtbandes
    Jul 25, 2009 at 16:40
  • 1
    And by "the Macha" I meant "the OP" or "Macha", not a combination of both. ;)
    – jtbandes
    Jul 25, 2009 at 20:33
  • I was too quick to mark this as the accepted answer. After reading it, I assumed that Irish keyboards were different to the other European keyboards, aswell as the US ones. I hate un-accepting answers, but it is technically incorrect.
    – Macha
    Jul 27, 2009 at 21:35

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