Decimal separator and triad separator

From: Alain LaBont/e'/ (
Date: Sat May 31 1997 - 11:14:00 EDT

A 13:46 97-05-30 -0400, Chris Lilley a écrit :
>On May 29, 8:03am, Martin J. Dürst wrote:
>> On Tue, 27 May 1997 Jörg Knappen wrote:
>> > For example, in the pagemaker documentation it is
>> > or was claimed, that one possible way of dividing long numbers into
>> > in german were a special apostroph (termed: Zahlenapostroph). I have
>> > seen this thing in print, and none of my typografic ressources ever lists
>> > this beast.

[Martin] :
>> In Switzerland, it is very common to use an apastroph as a thousands'
>> separator. However, this may be limited to handwriting, or may use
>> an already existing apostrophe instead of a special one.

[Chris] :
>The use of comma as a thousands separator (and point as a decimal separator)
>is also common in the UK, at least for handwriting but also in print.
>In France, the opposite convention is used, point for the thousands separator
>and comma for the decimal separator.
>Chris Lilley, W3C [ ]
>Graphics and Fonts Guy The World Wide Web Consortium
> INRIA, Projet W3C
> 2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
>+33 (0)4 93 65 79 87 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France

[Alain] :
Please see a discussion on various national conventions in addendum 1 to
ISO/IEC 9995-7 available from your national member body of ISO.

In the meanwhile, the ISO recommended standard for number presentation uses
a space (ideally a finer space) for the triad separator and a comma for the
decimal separator, the point being avoided all the time.

Btw the key on a numeric keypad representing the decimal separator should
not be a data entry key, but it is a function (as per ISO/IEC 9995-4,
Numeric keypad) to indicate the software that a decimal separator key that
is hit is meant to *enter* the decimal separator of a number. The bad
interpretation that is *often* done of this key is a source of infinite
problems in countries which have multiple decimal separators (this is
documented in the above-mentioned small addendum).

A new symbol to represent this function was standardized in addendum 1 to
ISO/IEC 9995-7. It looks like a black triangle built on the shape of a
Greek upper case gamma sans serif.
A request has been made for the adding of this symbol (for documentation
purposes) in ISO/IEC 10646-1 (UNICODE). The symbol is not used for
presentation of numbers per se, it is a pictogram to represent a
*function*. *Entering* numbers shall not be dependent of presentation.

Alain LaBonté
Co-editor, ISO/IEC 9995-7 [Keyboard] Symbols representing functions

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