Use the latest Unicode symbols in Office

How can you get the new Unicode symbols in Office documents?

There’s plenty of new symbols included in the Unicode 7.0 standard, here’s how to get them into your Office documents.

Most fonts do NOT have all the Unicode characters, after all, there are over 133,000 of them. There are far too many characters so most fonts only have a select ranges of fonts.

Some Microsoft supplied fonts have a lot of the Unicode symbols. If you’re looking for something unusual then check out:



  • Arial Unicode MS
  • Lucida Sans Unicode
  • Segoe UI

which have more complete character sets than other Microsoft supplied fonts. None of Microsoft’s main Unicode compatible fonts have the new Unicode 7.0 characters available and some may never appear.


SYMBOLA

Enter ‘SymbolA’ a font available from http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/ courtesy of George Douros.

This TrueType font that has many of the Unicode symbols including the new characters from Unicode 7.0. On the web page there’s a PDF download which displays all the symbols available with the Unicode 7.0 additions marked in blue.

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http://img.office-watch.com/ow/SymbolA%20font%20sample.png image from Use the latest Unicode symbols in Office at Office-Watch.com

Sadly the PDF document doesn’t have character codes which makes it hard to find an individual symbol.

Download the SymbolA.zip file and extract the contents. Install the TrueType font (SymbolaA.ttf) then open the included symbola.docx file. Now you can see all the symbols and copy ones that you want to another document.

Keep in mind that most people don’t have the SymbolA font. If you send a document with SymbolA characters to others you need to embed the font into the document (still not an option for Macintosh users). Making a PDF will always include the necessary fonts/symbols.

 

SymbolA is a standard TrueType font that installs into Windows (XP or later) just like any other font.  It’ll then show up in an Office font list and Insert | Symbol dialog

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/SymbolA%20font%20in%20Word.png image from Use the latest Unicode symbols in Office at Office-Watch.com

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/SymbolA%20font%20in%20Insert%20Symbol.png image from Use the latest Unicode symbols in Office at Office-Watch.com

If it doesn’t show up, check that the font is installed (Control Panel | Fonts ).  Though it should not be necessary, try restarting the Office program (Word etc.) to refresh the font list.