In the beginning, various Hindus wrote 7 more or less in one stroke as a curve that looks like an uppercase J vertically inverted. The western Ghubar Arabs’ main contribution was to make the longer line diagonal rather than straight, though they showed some tendencies to making the character more rectilinear. The eastern Arabs developed the character from a 6 lookalike into an uppercase V lookalike. Both modern Arab forms influenced the European form, a two-stroke character consisting of a horizontal upper line joined at its right to a line going down to the bottom left corner, a line that is slightly curved in some font variants. As is the case with the European glyph, the Cham and Khmer glyph for 7 also evolved to look like their glyph for 1, though in a different way, so they were also concerned with making their 7 more different. For the Khmer this often involved adding a horizontal line above the glyph. This is analogous to the horizontal stroke through the middle that is sometimes used in handwriting in the Western world but which is almost never used in computer fonts. This horizontal stroke is, however, important to distinguish the glyph for seven from the glyph for one in writings that use a long upstroke in the glyph for 1. In some Greek dialects of early 12th century the longer line diagonal was drawn in a rather semicircular transverse line.
The glyph used in the modern Western world to represent the number 2 traces its roots back to the Indic Brahmic script, where “2” was written as two horizontal lines. The modern Chinese and Japanese languages still use this method. The Gupta script rotated the two lines 45 degrees, making them diagonal. The top line was sometimes also shortened and had its bottom end curve towards the center of the bottom line. In the Nagari script, the top line was written more like a curve connecting to the bottom line. In the Arabic Ghubar writing, the bottom line was completely vertical, and the glyph looked like a dotless closing question mark. Restoring the bottom line to its original horizontal position, but keeping the top line as a curve that connects to the bottom line leads to our modern glyph.