The section sign (§) is a typographical character for referencing individual numbered sections of a document, frequently used when referring to legal code. Encoded as Unicode U+00A7 § SECTION SIGN and HTML
§ it is also commonly called section symbol, section mark, double-s, or alternatively paragraph mark in parts of Europe.
§ is often used when referring to a specific section of legal code, for example in APA style "Title 16 of the United States Code Section 580p" becomes "16 US Code § 580p". The section sign (§) is frequently used along with the pilcrow (¶) or paragraph sign to reference a specific paragraph within a section of a document. While § is usually spoken as section, European countries may read it as paragraph. When duplicated, as §§, it is read as the plural "sections" (e.g. "§§ 13–21"), much as "pp." (pages) is the plural of "p."
It may also be used with footnotes when asterisk (*), dagger (†) and double dagger (‡) have already been used on a given page. It is common practice to follow the section sign with a non-breaking space so the symbol is kept with the section number being cited.(p212,233)
The section sign is itself sometimes a symbol of the justice system, in much the same way as the Rod of Asclepius is used to represent medicine. The Austrian Ministry of Justice used the symbol in its logo for a time.
In Brazil, the sign may be used to represent numbered article paragraphs following the initial paragraph (Latin: caput).
Many platforms and languages have support for the section sign:
Some keyboards include dedicated ways to access §:
- United Kingdom (Mac): § (key left of 1)
- Germany: ⇧ Shift+3
- Italy: ⇧ Shift+ù
- Denmark: ⇧ Shift+½
- Colemak: AltGr+ \+s
- Portugal: AltGr+4
- LegalBoard (dedicated key).
- Switzerland: § (key left of 1)
- Standler, Ronald M. (2004). "Legal Research and Citation Style in USA". Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- "The Unicode Standard, Version 10.0 – C1 Controls and Latin-1 Supplement" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-10-07.
- Butterick, Matthew. "Butterick's Practical Typography: Paragraphs and Section Marks". Retrieved 2017-10-07.
- "16 U.S. Code § 580p – 'Woodsy Owl' and 'Smokey Bear' characters and names; definitions".
- "Some text-to-speech voices read the section symbol as paragraph instead of section". Retrieved 2017-10-07.
- Felici, James (2012). The Complete Manual of Typography (Second Edition). ISBN 978-0-321-77326-5.
- "The Law of Business Organizations under the New Brazilian Civil Code". Retrieved 2017-10-07.
- "Legalboard – A keyboard for lawyers made by lawyers". www.legalkeyboards.com. Retrieved 2017-12-18.