A Handy Interactive Unicode Reference

Unicode is a wonderful thing. It gives us every conceivable alphabet and a large set of non-alphabetic symbols as well. The problem for me is that I'm lost as soon as I step outside the familiar ASCII subset. There are just too many symbols to know them all—over 100,000 at this point. The book documenting the last version, Unicode 5, was 1,472 pages long. Mostly, of course, I'm interested in Latin-based alphabets and symbols so that cuts the list down a lot but it's still large and I don't use most of them often enough to learn them. That means that I need a reference. Since most of the things I write that use non-ASCII characters end up on the Web, I bookmarked this handy list from Xah Lee.

Today, though, I found a link to this interactive chart of the entire Unicode space. You can click on a category such as ASCII, SYMBOLS, NERD (A and B), CIRCLED, LINES, SHAPES, DINGS, or ASTRO to see some of the common things you might want to use or you can use the three sliders to explore the whole space. I'm not sure that this thing would be practical for day to day use as a reference but it's fun to play with and if you do need an out of the ordinary glyph, this is a good way of finding it.

So, while I'll stick to Lee's chart for most of my work, I'm glad to have found the interactive chart. It sure beats carrying around a 1,400 page book.

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