About

Unicode is the standard for computer representation of plain text. It encompasses the Universal Character Set, intended to unambiguously represent all characters used in human writing systems in any language, Unicode Transformation Formats (UTFs), defining standardized formats for storing and transmitting Unicode text, and standards for processing and manipulating text.

Unicode is the standard for computer representation of plain . It encompasses:

  • the Universal Character Set (UCS), intended to unambiguously represent all characters used in human writing systems in any language,
  • Unicode Transformation Formats (UTFs), defining standardized formats for storing and transmitting Unicode text, and
  • standards for processing and manipulating Unicode text.

The latest version is 6.0, published in 2011.

The Universal Character Set

Unicode assigns each character an integer code point (from 0 to 0x10FFFF) in the UCS to act as a unique reference. For example:

  • U+0041 A
  • U+0042 B
  • U+0043 C
  • ...
  • U+039B Λ
  • U+039C Μ

Unicode Transformation Formats

UTFs describe how to encode code points as byte representations. The most common forms are UTF-8 (which encodes code points as a sequence of one, two, three or four bytes) and UTF-16 (which encodes code points as two or four bytes).

Code Point          UTF-8           UTF-16 (big-endian)
U+0041              41              00 41
U+0042              42              00 42
U+0043              43              00 43
...
U+039B              CE 9B           03 9B
U+039C              CE 9C           03 9C

Specification

The Unicode Consortium also defines standards for sorting and collation algorithms, rules for capitalization, character normalization and other locale-sensitive character operations.

Identifying Characters

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