Is there a quick and easy way to find the Unicode code point for any character? For example, I see a funny character on a web page, or a PDF file, or some other document.

What I current do is copy the character to the clipboard, save it to a file, and look at the file with a hex viewer. Alternatively I can open Microsoft Word, paste and do Alt+X. Both of these methods are a bit cumbersome. Is there an easier way?

I use Notepad++ so if there's any way to do that with Notepad++, it would be a suitable answer (it's less cumbersome than having to open Word). Or maybe there's a way to do it with a small specialised application?

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    ltg.ed.ac.uk/~richard/utf-8.html Nice tool, worth a bookmark! – tkausl Dec 16 '17 at 4:14
  • How can the accepted answer be accepted? It does not mention Unicode at all and does not work well for Unicode. How exactly did it solve your question? Try 😍 and see that it won't work. It doesn't even display the character. – Thomas Weller Dec 17 '17 at 10:18
  • @ThomasWeller you make a good point, and I've changed my accepted answer. It seems that Notepad++ can only cope with 16-bit characters and doesn't understand code points greater than 0xFFFF, which your example character is. – DodgyCodeException Dec 17 '17 at 10:30
  • @user202729 It's not 2 years old. It says "asked Dec 15" which means "December the 15th of this year", not "December 2015". So it's only 3 days old. I don't understand why this question keeps getting upvoted. It was only a simple question about something simple that I was wondering about. – DodgyCodeException Dec 18 '17 at 13:15
  • I thought it's year 2015. About why it's upvoted, it's because it's on Hot Network Question list. (and it's somewhat useful, too, though I'm not sure if everyone encounter weird Unicode character all the time) – user202729 Dec 18 '17 at 13:16

14 Answers 14

up vote 29 down vote accepted

I work a lot with Unicode characters, so I have written a small Windows application specifically for this:

Unicode Character Informer (Documentation)

In addition, my text editor, Rejbrand Text Editor, has extensive Unicode character support.

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    Thanks! That's quite useful. May I suggest F1 should be a help function, which would bring up a small window containing a link to your documentation web page. – DodgyCodeException Dec 15 '17 at 13:03
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    Out of curiosity, what job are you working? – Ooker Dec 15 '17 at 15:59
  • In bash, I use uniprops, which seems to output similar info. – TRiG Dec 15 '17 at 17:36

Notepad++ has a pre-installed plug-in called Converter that has a option to Convert ASCII to HEX and Vice-versa. This tool is quite useful as to convert data files that are in HEX format which are to be converted to ASCII to read:

enter image description here

That is how it works:

enter image description here

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    Thanks! By the way, what software do you use to create an animated gif like that? – DodgyCodeException Dec 15 '17 at 10:56
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    Ha ha! I just noticed the word "octadecimal" in that dialog box. That means base 18. The developer means octal, of course (base 8). – DodgyCodeException Dec 15 '17 at 10:59
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    @DodgyCodeException I guess LICEcap – user11153 Dec 15 '17 at 11:37
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    @DodgyCodeException screentogif.com is nice for recording animated gifs. – David Dec 15 '17 at 12:38
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    When I paste 😍 there, it says D83D. So it's only half of the thruth and does NOT work well with Unicode characters. – Thomas Weller Dec 17 '17 at 10:17

When I'm faced with this problem, a quick Google search usually provides a quick answer. For example, when I google "😍 unicode", I get a result like this: Google search for the "smiling face with heart shaped eyes" emoji

I like this method because:

  • It works on any computer with internet
  • You don't have to install anything
  • The keypresses required (Ctrl+C & Ctrl+T & Ctrl+V & Enter) are muscle memory actions for me, and probably for most other developers/typists.

On a Unix-like system*:

unicode -s "$(xsel -ob)"

You can alias this or create a script to run it.

The output looks like this:

U+2672 UNIVERSAL RECYCLING SYMBOL
UTF-8: e2 99 b2 UTF-16BE: 2672 Decimal: ♲ Octal: \023162
♲ (♲)
Uppercase: 2672
Category: So (Symbol, Other)
Bidi: ON (Other Neutrals)

* It looks like the original poster is probably using Windows, but (a) this isn't specified, and (b) this solution might help others.

  • Thanks! Although I'm using Windows mostly, I do also use Linux, and in any case I can probably download a Windows port of this utility (such as GnuWin). – DodgyCodeException Dec 16 '17 at 18:41

There's a nice little website called Unicode Character Inspector (built by Tim Whitlock) that does just that. I find it way more convenient than a text editor or desktop program.

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    To make that even faster, you can set up a search engine shortcut in your browser and have it take you straight to the information page about the entered character. This works because you can specify the character as a querystring parameter like https://apps.timwhitlock.info/unicode/inspect?s={some unicode character here}. – Eric Seastrand Dec 15 '17 at 22:14

You can use PowerShell!

[char]::ConvertToUtf32((gcb), 0)

This prints the first Unicode code point of the text on the clipboard.

If you don't have to worry about characters outside the Basic Multilingual Plane (that would be represented in .NET strings as a high and low surrogate), you can use this instead:

[int](gcb)[0]

If you'd prefer it in hex, you can use a format specifier:

'0x{0:x}' -f [char]::ConvertToUtf32((gcb), 0)

A note for any Emacs users: you can type C-u C-x = and it will give you a bunch of information about the character under the cursor, including the Unicode code point, the name in the Unicode database and the categories etc.

             position: 146 of 147 (99%), column: 0
            character: ♲ (displayed as ♲) (codepoint 9842, #o23162, #x2672)
    preferred charset: unicode (Unicode (ISO10646))
code point in charset: 0x2672
               script: symbol
               syntax: w    which means: word
             category: .:Base
             to input: type "C-x 8 RET 2672" or "C-x 8 RET UNIVERSAL RECYCLING SYMBOL"
          buffer code: #xE2 #x99 #xB2
            file code: #xE2 #x99 #xB2 (encoded by coding system utf-8-unix)
              display: by this font (glyph code)
    xft:-PfEd-Mensch-normal-normal-normal-*-16-*-*-*-m-0-iso10646-1 (#x985)

Character code properties: customize what to show
  name: UNIVERSAL RECYCLING SYMBOL
  general-category: So (Symbol, Other)
  decomposition: (9842) ('♲')

Got Vim? Just paste it in, put your cursor on it, and hit ga. I use this all the time for weird characters.

I use http://unicode.scarfboy.com, which is simple and works well.

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    Please add a brief description of what the site does, if there's any specific way to use it, and how it specifically addresses the OPs question. A one line answer usually isn't sufficient to truly answer a question. – computercarguy Dec 15 '17 at 19:05

I find Rishard Ishida's Unicode code converter (github link) very usefull for finding unicode charactercodes, amongst other things. It also provides translations/conversions to other codepoints, encodings and for instance escapes-sequences.

Unicode Converter

You may also want to checkout Richard Ishida's main webpage (rishida.net), as it contains (links to) alot of valuable tools and information, especially if you're interested in internationalisation and character-encoding. For instance, another very useful tool linked there, is his Uniview tool (github link).

Uniview

And finally, also very useful i find, although mostly relevant to Mac-users, is macOS's Character Viewer, accessible through the Input Menu, which can be enabled in System PreferencesKeyboard

Although the Apple-support website mainly focusses on how-to insert emojies (…), the Character Viewer is actually very useful for looking-up specific ('special') characters and their codepoints in several different encodings, as well as for finding which fonts on your systen contain specific glyphs.

Character Viewer

Cheers!

  • Character Viewer as pictured here is, I think, at least one major revision (of the OS) old; High Sierra gives a much less convenient “Show Emoji & Symbols”. – Anton Sherwood Dec 16 '17 at 21:05
  • @AntonSherwood nothing has changed that I can tell. You can decide in the Emoji and Symbols option "Customize List" which tables to show. The Unicode one isn't visible by default, I believe. – guifa Dec 17 '17 at 3:04
  • I can confirm that Sierra has the full Characters panel–High Sierra doesn't? – SilverWolf Dec 17 '17 at 20:58
  • Well, we learn something every day. Thanks @guifa. I made it somewhat more to my liking – but can't reproduce the screenshot shown. – Anton Sherwood Dec 18 '17 at 21:42

You can also use the following site: https://unicode-table.com/en/ Just paste your character, and you'll get a Unicode code point and HTML code as well.

If you have Microsoft Word, paste the text there, select the character (or click to the right of it), and press Alt+X.

  • This is already provided by the question itself. – Stephan Bijzitter Dec 18 '17 at 15:50

I am going to mention http://amp-what.com/ as it is really easy to use with its quick search field and supports different notations (& code, Unicode codepoints, URI encode character sequence).

Example image

Here's one more answer using an idea from user202729:

Bookmark the URL javascript:alert(prompt().codePointAt(0).toString(16)) and use a browser to run it. (Works on Chrome and Firefox. Doesn't appear to work on IE but this may be due to security settings.)

Unlike other answers, no internet connection is required, no external utility to download, not OS-specific.

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