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Unicode is a standard for the encoding, representation and handling of text with the intention of supporting all the characters required for written text incorporating all writing systems, technical symbols and punctuation.


Unicode assigns each character a code point to act as a unique reference:

  • 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


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

Identifying Characters

For more general information, see the Unicode article on Wikipedia.