What is Approximation Symbol?

What is Approximation Symbol?

In mathematics, there are several symbols to represent a specific task, identity, or operator. To show that two numbers approximately equal to each other, this (≈) symbol is used. The symbol (≈) is used to indicate the mathematical operator of approximation. A symbol uses to denote if two numbers are approximately equal to each other. This symbol consists of two wavy equals to lines (≈). It shows that two numbers are at two ends of the symbol (≈) approximately equal to each other, not equal to each other.

Why Approximation Symbol? 

This symbol is used when we don’t know the exact value of a numeric expression. When there is the uncertainty of the numeric value of an expression or symbol. The approximation is usually used when a decimal number can’t be expressed in a finite number of binary digits. 

For example, we aren’t certain if π = 3.14, as the real value of pie is said to be 3.142857142857143, which is an approximate value. Therefore π ≈ 3.14. Another example could be √2, which is said to have a value of 1.414, expressed as √2 ≈ 1.414.

Where is it used? 

Approximation symbol is usually used in mathematics and scientific discoveries. As these usually are surrounded by this not-so-certain environment. In mathematics, this symbol is used in presenting the approximation of uncertain values and their equivalent ones. When we can’t express a decimal number as finite. While solving the larger mathematical equations or problems, it’s difficult for one to find the exact numeric value. Therefore the solutions are said to be approx. When those numbers are equivalent to some other certain or uncertain value (≈) is used. In scientific discoveries, when one has measures that cannot be exact are labeled approximate. For example, the earth’s diameter, the distance of the moon from earth, the total land area of a country, or the height of Everest. As we can’t be sure about every inch of measurement.

Diversions of Approximation Symbol 

While (≈) shows the property of approximation, there are several other derivatives of these symbols. 

  1. ≠ The symbol denotes not approximate 1 ≠ 2. 2260 + Alt + X is the shortcut to obtain ≠.
  2. ≃ Indicates asymptotically equals to functions mostly f(n) ≃ 3n2. It describes limiting behavior as the variable of the function that can lead to infinity. 2243 + Alt + X is the shortcut to obtain ≃.
  3. ≅ This symbol shows isomorphism and is a combination of approximation sign and equals to sign. It is used to show the figures are equivalent in respect of their angels, vertices, or measures △ABC ≅ △A’B’C’. 2245 + Alt + X is the shortcut to obtain ≅.
  4. ≊ This symbol is similar to isomorphism, with the combination of approximation and equals to sign. It indicates equivalent or approximate equivalence. 224A + Alt + X is the shortcut to obtain ≊.
  5. ∼ This symbol is used to indicate proportionality between functions f(n) ∼ n2. 223C + Alt + X is the shortcut to obtain ∼.

How to use Approximation Symbol (≈)?

As there is no dedicated key for approximation signs but there are some shortcuts that help us to implement the symbol. Some of them are – 

  • Place your pointer on the location where you wish to place the approximate symbol. Press the Alt key, then type 247, after then release the Alt key.
  • Type 2248 in your document and press Alt + X.
  • In Mac, we can type the approximation symbol by using the option + X shortcut.
  • We can type the approximation symbol by copy-paste method. Search for the approximation symbol in any web browser or search engine and copy the symbol by selecting and press Ctrl + C. After that, go where you wish to have an approximation symbol, then press Ctrl + V. 
  • In a word, we can insert the approximation symbol by clicking the Insert tab and selecting the symbol option, then select more symbols from the dialog box that appeared after selecting the symbol option.
  • Select mathematical operators from the drop-down list.
  • Then select the approximation symbol from the various symbols that appeared on your screen.
  • Another method to type the approximation symbol is by autocorrect. We can assign a shortcut, for example, APP=. This feature helps the users to insert it frequently. Word automatically inserts the symbol when the shortcut assigned by you is inserted. Go to the Insert tab, click more symbols from the symbol category.
  • In the symbol dialog box select mathematical operation from the drop-down box.
  • Select the approximation symbol and select the autocorrect option.
  • An Autocorrect dialog box will appear; type the shortcut you want to assign for the approximation symbol in the replace field.
  • Click on add and then click OK. 


Approximation symbol, just as any other operator, is used in various fields. There are several other uses of this symbol that may have been left out. As of using this symbol in windows or mac, there are various methods to insert it. Which can be used at the user’s convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What symbol is used to represent approximation? 

≈ is the symbol used to represent an approximation. 

  • How to insert the approximation symbol in MS word?

In MS Word approximation symbols can be inserted in various ways. Type 2248 in the location where you want to insert the symbol, press Alt + X. 

  • ≈ or  which symbol is more appreciated? 

It depends on where you are using these. If you compare values like √2 and 1.414, ≈ the symbol is used while comparing the functions if they are proportional like f(a) ∼ f(b).

  • What is the difference between ≈ and ?  

While both of these symbols are used for approximation purposes, they are mostly used for numeric purposes and ≅ are used in trigonometric, geometric, and topological expressions.

  • Is there any difference between = and ≈? 

Both of these symbols are different as = is equaled to sign, showing that two numeric identities are equal. In comparison, ≈ it is almost equal to sign or approximation sign, which shows that two identities are almost equal, not perfectly equal.

Also read How to Insert the Thumbs Up Symbol in Word?

What is Approximation Symbol?

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