Forward Slash

What Does Forward Slash Mean?

The forward slash is an ASCII text character that is used for punctuation, alphanumerical representations in mathematics, general-purpose coding and other aspects of digital text and design. It is also the common format for file and folder designations in command line systems.


The forward slash is also known simply as the slash or, less commonly, the oblique stroke.

Techopedia Explains Forward Slash

One common use of the forward slash is in fractions, where the number that goes on top of the fraction is represented to the left of forward slash, and the number that goes in the bottom of the fraction is represented to the right of the forward slash. This usage goes back to early typewriters and typesetting, but is still used today. A newer use of the forward slash is the file and folder designations mentioned above. It is also commonly used to demarcate comments in many programming languages — in other words, between two sets of forward slashes, there are words and symbols that humans can look at, but the computer does not consider as part of functional programming.

By contrast, the backslash is a different ASCII character that is less commonly used. The backslash or backward slash can be used in some files and for designations, but is not as common as the forward slash.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…