An asterisk (*) in the indicator area marks the line as documentary comment only. Such a comment line can appear anywhere in the program after the IDENTIFICATION DIVISION header. Any characters from the ASCII character set can be included in area A and area B of the line.
A comment line can appear before the IDENTIFICATION DIVISION header.
A slash (/) in the indicator area acts as a comment line above but causes the page to eject before the comment is printed.
A "D" or "d" in the indicator area represents a debugging line. Areas A and B can contain any valid COBOL sentence.
A "–" in the indicator area represents a continuation of the previous line without spaces or the continuation of a nonnumeric literal (see the section Continuation of Lines in the chapter Language Fundamentals).
A "$" in the indicator area indicates a special line for setting directives or conditional compilation.