Symbols and special characters

Some symbols and special characters can make your content confusing and difficult to read, especially for users who have accessibility needs. Some users depend upon assistive technologies that read out every character and symbol.

In your content, avoid using: 

  • a hyphen to indicate a range of numbers 
  • the ampersand symbol instead of “and” 
  • the more than or less than symbol 
  • the slash symbol in place of “or” 
  • the plus and minus symbol, unless in a dataset or table 
  • an exclamation mark, unless quoting directly

Where possible, write words in full instead of using symbols and special characters. This will make your content easier to read for all users.

Do

300 to 600 

“and”, “more than”, “less than” 

male or female 

Do not 

300-600 

“&” “<” “>” 

male/female

Symbols and special characters should only be used when there is no reasonable alternative. This ensures that all users can find, use and understand your content.   

In your content, you can use:  

You should avoid overusing symbols and special characters as this can overwhelm users and make your content difficult to read.

Do

The majority of respondents (67%) from our Labour Force Survey spent £80 to £90 in January to March 2022. This was a rise of 1% and the greatest increase since July to September 2020.

Do not

The majority, 67%, (66% in the previous Labour Force Survey (LFS)) of respondents from the Office for National Statistics’s (ONS’s) LFS, spent “£80-£90”, in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2022; a rise of 1% (the highest since Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020).