A CDE Definition
The forward slash (or simply slash) character (/) is the divide symbol in programming and on calculator keyboards. For example, 10 / 7 means 10 divided by 7. The slash is also often used in command line syntax to indicate a switch. For example, in the DOS/Windows Xcopy statement xcopy *.* d: /s, the /s is a switch that tells the program to copy all subfolders. In Unix paths, which have become popular due to Internet addresses, the slash separates the elements of the path as in www.company.com/news/previous/abc.html.
It Used to Be Just a Slash
Before computers became ubiquitous, the forward slash was simply a "slash." Since the days of DOS, which introduced the horrid backslash, many people refer to a regular slash as a forward slash to avoid confusion. See backslash.
The symbol (\) used as a separator between folder and file names in DOS and Windows. For example, the path to the Windows version of this encyclopedia is c:\"program files"\CDEweb\CDEweb.exe, which points to the CDEweb.exe file in the CDEweb folder within the Program Files folder on the C: drive.
An Unfortunate, Confusing Symbol
While the backslash (\) is used in Windows addresses, the forward slash (/) is used in Internet addresses, which are Unix based. In addition, the backslash key is in a non-standard keyboard location.
Windows followed DOS, which was modeled after CP/M, and CP/M used the forward slash for command line parameters without regard to Unix path compatibility (Unix was big iron at the time, and CP/M was for personal computers). Thus we are stuck with two different symbols to separate file and folder names.
Double Backslashes (\\)
Two backslashes are used as a prefix to a server name (hostname). For example, \\a5\c\expenses is the path to the EXPENSES folder on the C: drive on server A5. See UNC, \\, path and forward slash.
Platform Path to Ovens Folder
Mac OS X: /products/kitchen/ovens
Path to Ovens Page
Three Symbols Separate Names
Before/After Your Search Term
Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.