Crossed Z and 7?

Today’s completely non-corporation-related question: when printing with a pen or pencil do you “cross” your Z or 7? Although I was never taught to do this, at some point in the murky past I started to unconsciously cross both, something I wasn’t really aware of until G. pointed it out this morning.


Johnny's picture
Johnny on December 9, 2008 - 16:34 Permalink

This was a question on Jeopardy last night, and the indication was that Europeans tend to cross their 7’s, whereas North Americans don’t.

john's picture
john on December 9, 2008 - 16:46 Permalink

What about zeroes? I cross them too.

Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on December 9, 2008 - 16:47 Permalink

I cross my 7’s (as taught in engineering school) but not my z’s.

Derekmac's picture
Derekmac on December 9, 2008 - 17:05 Permalink

Neither, but sometimes zeroes if there is ambiguity between them and the letter “O”. I also make my ones, letter l’s, and sevens distinctly different so there is no ambiguity.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on December 9, 2008 - 18:20 Permalink

7, yes. Z, no.

matthew bennett's picture
matthew bennett on December 9, 2008 - 19:48 Permalink

I still cross my zeros. I only cross my Z’s when I write it too curvy, and it looks like a 2.

jypsy's picture
jypsy on December 9, 2008 - 20:32 Permalink

7’s always, Z’s and zeroes sometimes (30-50% ?)
Do you make 8’s by making 2 balls or one, long “figure 8 shape”?

Chuck's picture
Chuck on December 9, 2008 - 21:09 Permalink

I cross my 7s, but not my Zs.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 9, 2008 - 21:21 Permalink

@jypsy I split my 8s — half the time a figure 8, and half the time 2 balls.

Valerie's picture
Valerie on December 9, 2008 - 22:23 Permalink

7’s but not z’s. I picked it up when I lived in Paris for two years and have done it ever since.

Jane's picture
Jane on December 9, 2008 - 23:35 Permalink

7 and 0 sometimes…depends on my “writing mood”. Z never…

Marian's picture
Marian on December 10, 2008 - 14:33 Permalink

I went to a Euro school and learned to cross my sevens.

Jonas's picture
Jonas on December 10, 2008 - 14:35 Permalink

Didn’t cross 7 until a few years back, but now always since people sometimes confused it with 1. Z remains uncrossed by me for now.

Here’s another one. How do you write 1? One line, one line with small roof, one line with small roof and bottom serif, or one line with a very big roof (almost an upside-down V). I vary a lot between the three first variants. The upside-down V seems to be continental Europe, but don’t know how widespread it is.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 10, 2008 - 14:45 Permalink

@jonas I switch back and forth between the “one line with small roof and bottom serif” and “one line” method for printing a 1.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 10, 2008 - 18:03 Permalink

Just realized that I also write my “small a” typographically — i.e. not just “circle plus line” but “with left-point branch off the top.”

It’s becoming obvious that handwriting needs its own choreographic language.

Tracy's picture
Tracy on December 12, 2008 - 20:15 Permalink

I was taught to cross my 7s and Zs in my 8th grade algebra class in Spokane, WA.

Melissa's picture
Melissa on January 15, 2009 - 17:24 Permalink

I don’t recall being taught to cross my 7’s or z’s, but I always do both — just to make sure they don’t get confused in my handwriting. I think I started doing so because I had European penpals as a child and loved how their handwriting looked.

When addressing envelopes, I also tend to cap my 1’s and cross 0’s so there is no confusion.

ncc's picture
ncc on January 19, 2009 - 21:11 Permalink

Check 10 Commandments.
People who do not agree with 7 — cross it
Thats all

Any ideas about Z?

Graham's picture
Graham on February 13, 2009 - 22:03 Permalink

i cross my z’s if i’m doing math so as not to confuse them with 2’s. i cross my 7s if i am writing mostly words (though i’m less sure as to why). zeros, for me, are crossed rarely, for stylistic purposes.

Dan's picture
Dan on April 16, 2010 - 16:35 Permalink

I cross my 7s so that I don’t get confused with the number 1
I cross my Zs so that I don’t get confused with the number 2
I don’t cross my 0s

Mark's picture
Mark on May 28, 2010 - 12:33 Permalink

I’ve crossed both my 7’s and Z’s since grade school, I remember it being mentioned and myself thinking it was the most logical way to write, nowadays it’s automatic and generally understood so I don’t question it. I’ll only cross 0’s if there’s good reason to (a variable o, O) though I subconsciously nag myself about consistency when I do :p

Mark's picture
Mark on May 28, 2010 - 12:38 Permalink

Wow ditto on the lowercase A too.. to me the standard ‘a’ seems more like cursive than print

gdb's picture
gdb on April 14, 2011 - 22:45 Permalink

I do cross my Zs and sevens because my mom does and I used to slash my zeroes until my math teacher from Denmark got it confused with the Danish letter Ø.

Doug's picture
Doug on March 18, 2012 - 08:11 Permalink

     So, how can I type these two characters, Z’s and 7’s with a bar across the horizontal, on my computer?

Autoharp Bill's picture
Autoharp Bill on December 7, 2013 - 03:58 Permalink

When I was younger I did not cross anything, but people misread me, so at first I started crossing Z, then crossing 0, then crossing 7. Another one that I do and I’m surprised nobody has mentioned it, is crossing my V. V was getting misread as U and vice-versa; more than once someone read it wrong and I ended up getting the wrong part. I saw a friend of mine crossing his Vs about 15 years ago, I picked it up and I have not gone back.

Sometimes people ask what that character is; I tell them and they agree it makes sense

Tiff's picture
Tiff on May 1, 2015 - 00:33 Permalink

I started to cross my 7s because in my handwriting, and because I do ledger work, my 2s and my 7s look incredibly similar (my 7s tend to have a tail). Never really had a problem with letters that needed fixing.

electrocad's picture
electrocad on October 23, 2015 - 03:39 Permalink

I cross 7s and Zs and I slash 0s. Does anyone know of a font face that has cross's and slash's?

Anderson's picture
Anderson on January 9, 2023 - 14:04 Permalink

Baltica font has a crossed 7 (but not Z or 0).

dile's picture
dile on December 28, 2018 - 13:24 Permalink

Always cross the 7 and always use the base and head of the 1. Don't cross 0. I was taught this way by my French-Canadian and Irish mother. And my a, whether cursive or printed, is never without its top!