More characters for Unicode

Unicode adds more characters to an already large list.

Unicode has added another 2,834 new characters in the Unicode 7.0 specification, mostly support for 23 new scripts. That takes the total to a whopping 113,021 characters!

But we’ll have to wait for these new characters to appear automatically in Office, Windows and mobile devices.

The release of Unicode 7.0 meant the press gave a lot of coverage to the new ‘Emoji’ characters adopted into the Unicode standard, but there’s a lot more than smiley faces in the new release.


Currency Symbols

Added to the official Unicode set are currency symbols for the Nordic Mark, Azerbaijani manta and Russian ruble. Here’s all three, in order, with their character codes (in Hex):

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Unicode%207%20-%201.png image from More characters for Unicode at Office-Watch.com


Symbols

Most of the media coverage is about ‘Emoji’ characters which we used to call Wingdings or Symbols. Some of the new characters are:

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Unicode%207%20-%202.png image from More characters for Unicode at Office-Watch.com

But there are other ‘hand’ symbols added:

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Unicode%207%20-%203.png image from More characters for Unicode at Office-Watch.com


Live Long and Prosper

As life-long Trekkies, we have to love the Vulcan greeting symbol (bottom right). It’s officially called ‘1F596 Raised Hand with part between middle and ring fingers’.


Left Hand Writing

An acknowledgment of us ‘lefties’ with ‘1F58E Left Writing Hand’ to complement the existing ‘270D Writing Hand’.


OK

Turned OK hand sign (1F58F) – which is more distinct than the existing ‘1F44C OK Hand Sign’.


Giving the finger or flip the bird!

Unicode 7.0 can even let you give someone the finger with ‘1F595 Reversed Hand with Middle Finger extended’!

Some of the additions are variants on existing symbols. For example a new character is 2700 ‘Black Safety Scissors’ to complement the existing 2704 ‘White Scissors’.

Unicode is a global standard for displaying letters, numbers and characters on computers. As you may know, each letter etc. you type on a computer is saved as a number. For example capital ‘A’ is saved in a Word document as code 65 (or 0041 in hexadecimal). For that to work across the world there has to be an agreed standard for matching symbols to numbers. That standard is called Unicode and covers letters, numbers and symbols for an amazing number of languages (current and old) and symbols.

All document editors, web pages and more use the Unicode standard (more or less). An example of Unicode at work in Microsoft Office are our articles on Inserting Numero and other characters and Accent characters in Office.

The Unicode 7.0 changes are summarized here but most helpful are the ‘delta’ charts which link to PDF’s showing the new symbols. The PDF’s show blocks of the Unicode set (called Code Charts) with the new characters highlighted.

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