Which is the most correct/proper way to represent the word numero in metropolitan, standard written French? I have seen all 4 of the following in use:

№ (NUMERO SIGN U+2116)?

N° (an always capitalised 'N' followed by DEGREE SIGN U+00B0)?

n° (a lowercase 'n', except at the start of sentences, followed by DEGREE SIGN U+00B0)?

No. (the letters 'n' and 'o' followed by a full stop; I have seen both capitalised and non-capitalised permutations)

3 Answers 3


Using the degree sign is often done because it is directly available on a French (AZERTY) keyboard. That gives and . It looks like the famous perfume named N° 5 uses a degree sign:

              enter image description here

Doing it is however sometimes considered incorrect because the degree sign is technically a small zero while the upper o is the vowel ending the word numéro. Using the degree sign also makes the plural unaesthetic to say the least: n°ˢ or s.

To get a consistent display, you then need to use a superscript "o", possibly followed by a superscript "s" if plural:

Numéro: HTML: no or No, UTF-8: nᵒ or Nᵒ

Numéros: HTML: nos or Nos and UTF-8: nᵒˢ or Nᵒˢ.

Sometimes, the masculine ordinal glyph is used as in and . It is not recommended because depending on the font used, the o might be underlined which is not a French thing, and there is no matching "s".

Similarly, the "Numero glyph" () is unused in French because the "o" is underlined and there are neither lowercase nor plural forms.

Capitalization follows the generic rule, if numéro is starting a sentence, the initial N should be in uppercase, otherwise, a lowercase n is used.

Note also that a space is required after no, e.g.:

No 4


Selon le « Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l'imprimerie nationale » qui fait référence, on trouve dans la liste des abréviations :

enter image description here

soit :

  • n° si on n'a qu'un numéro
  • s si on liste plusieurs numéros. (Reste à savoir comment obtenir le « s ».

From personnal experience, I have always seen people using "N°" or "n°" (both using DEGREE SIGN U+00B0) written by hand, on computer or printed in books/newspapers.

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