Number 7: To cross or not to cross?

I heard from a Postcrosser in Germany that they write the number 7 differently there than in the US. They cross it like the letter ‘t’. My question is this: Are all/most of European countries like this? Should I be crossing my 7’s all the time? And what about Eastern nations such as China and Japan? Do they want the crossed 7 as well? I want to do my best to make sure my cards aren’t misdirected because of a 7 being mistaken for a 1. Help!


I’m not sure what the rule is but if I send in the US I don’t cross if it’s going overseas I cross it


In Portugal the 7 is also crossed

There’s a whole discussion about this somewhere…I don’t remember where though. Personally I cross sevens and flag ones that go to Europe, and occasionally other countries as well. I think it’s mostly a European thing? Where it’s expected at least.


I cross the 7. It helps to distinguish it from 1, and I’m pretty sure that way is the prevalent one in Italy (most people I know do)


I’m from the US and I’ve always crossed the seven. How funny, I didn’t know it was regional!


I’ve crossed my sevens since I was a teenager :woman_shrugging:t2: regardless of where it’s going in the world.


In Japan, most people write number 7 as shown in below, as that is how we are taught to write. I think it is the same in China and Taiwan too and perhaps in Korea too. So, perhaps, it would be better to handwrite number 7 like this when you send to these countries.

However, I always cross number 7 when I send to Europe, North America, Middle East, South America and other far away island countries and in Asia too, like for Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, as shown in below :


In Malaysia we learnt the uncrossed version in primary school and the crossed version in secondary school (sorta). Either way is fine.


I went to primary school in Sydney, NSW Australia in the 70/80s. We were taught uncrossed 7 at school, and I think it’s pretty standard to write it that way in Oz. But I had this French teacher later in my schooling (between years 7 and 10) and she always wrote a crossed 7. I liked it and copied her and have mostly used a crossed 7 ever since…simply because I think it looks nice. I don’t do it differently for different countries I’m sending to. I think my writing is fairly neat and pretty obvious what is what. It’s been interesting reading and considering here though, so thanks!

I actually have more of an issue with the number 1. I’ve pretty much always written it as plain " l "…with no base or top tick bit (or whatever the little slippery dip on the top left is officially called…half hat? :rofl:). I don’t remember how it was taught…but the simple upright stick is what I’ve always used. For the purpose of Postcrossing I’ve started trying to add the base and top bits to make sure it’s clear that it is a one, and not something else. I don’t like doing it this way though. It doesn’t flow easily for me, and my ones always look weird to me as a result. They end up being slightly bigger than all the other numbers because I always add on the base and top bit as an afterthought. I’m overthinking it…obviously :face_with_peeking_eye::face_with_spiral_eyes:.

…And now that I think of it…is the base even required? For some reason I thought it was part of the official style…but not on the keyboard it isn’t…so now I have no idea why I’ve been adding a flat base plate to my 1s :rofl::rofl::rofl:. I really do love how conversations here make me stop and think…a lot!


We learned both in Canada & I’ve always crossed my sevens so that they don’t get confused with ones.

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It’s pretty common to cross the 7 in the US also. It’s more of a preferential thing here than something “official”

In Finland it’s crossed, but I think 8-7 years ago schools started to teach the uncrossed version. Until, it was stopped :slightly_smiling_face: I think it only lasted a couple of years, and now it’s back to the crossed version.

I echo many of the fellow Americans above - I also cross my 7s…. in order not confuse it with the number 1 . I thought that this was common - that is was just a matter of preference. Just like the number one - write it as a single line or with a little top “tail” with or without a base. You can say the same for other numbers as well - depends on your own style!

I have to say that probably the overthinking isn’t necessary! Here in Germany it’s pretty usual to cross the 7, but I think we’re smart enough to understand that not everyone does it. We’ll figure it out! But I think it’s lovely to put so much thought into how to make it easier for the recipient. :slight_smile:

Bonus comment: Before Postcrossing, I never knew that the 1 looks like an l in some parts of the world! Mine look more like a ^ because I tend to make the little hook way too big, haha.


Since I usually write the postcard ID twice, I do it in different styles. The first way, most prominently, is my traditional style: crossed sevens, ones with the leading stroke, and nines that look like lower case g. The second place I write the ID I will use a more American style: stick ones, uncrossed seven, and a nine that doesn’t have the lower part curve at all.
I figure that covers most of the options and will eliminate confusion if I sloppily write the ID in one style.
I haven’t attempted a Dutch 8 yet though…


I did once have a German postcrosser specify to cross sevens because it was confusing her mail carrier haha. I supposed it’s all very variable.


In Belgium a 7 is crossed and a 1 flagged. Not in Britain and since I teach English, I always do it the British way. Not many people care and know what is meant.

I think the 7 and 1 problem is rather a problem for sorting machines than for people. I often hear about issues especially with 1 not written l and then being misread as 7

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Most people in Germany cross the 7, but we don’t learn it that way. So either way is fine!