Knowledge Base - What is Unicode?
#15464: What is Unicode and how does it work?
What is Unicode?
There is a video tutorial on Unicode at:
The Unicode Standard, developed by the Unicode Consortium, is a universal character encoding standard used for representation of text for computer processing.
The current version of the Unicode Standard assigns a unique identifier to each of 94, 140 characters, covering the scripts of the world's principal written languages as well as many mathematical and other symbols.
The Unicode Standard enables a computer's operating system to utilize a single font which may contain characters representing dozens of language scripts, such as German, Cyrillic or Chinese. The unique identifier for a character is used by the input program (keyboard driver), the computer operating system, the text processing program and the font to display the character on the computer screen.
Not all software applications or fonts are Unicode enabled. When the text processing application has not been configured to understand or recognize a Unicode identifier presented to it (by someone pressing a key on a keyboard set to present the identifier), then the computer screen will not display the character.
Instead of the character, the computer screen will perhaps display the wrong text, a question mark or a rectangle.
An explanation of "code pages" will assist you in understanding
the Unicode Standard and how it functions with operating systems, fonts and applications. Generally, Latin-based operating systems can only display the first 256 characters of a given language script.
Unicode fonts can be thought of as having "sets" of 256 characters called "code pages." Some fonts may have characters from multiple sets of code pages. When you switch the keyboard to another language you are toggling another code page so that the keyboard is remapped to a different set of 256 characters.
The process of displaying a character on a computer monitor's screen begins when a key is typed on the keyboard. Based on the selected code page for that keyboard, the keyboard driver finds the desired character by searching for that character's Unicode number in the font.
The host application displaying the text must understand the font's Unicode range and the keyboard's code page designation in order to display the Unicode character (originally called up when the user pressed a key on the keyboard).
How does Unicode work in Windows?
Below are several factors which work together to successfully display a Unicode font in a given application on Windows:
A Unicode font (one having Unicode-defined character names and corresponding Unicode numbers) must be installed.
An application that is compatible with Unicode keyboard
drivers must be running. A Unicode keyboard driver must
be installed in the operating system. Language scripts are accessed by switching to an international keyboard on the taskbar. The default for US English Windows will be disp
layed as EN on the Windows taskbar. Click EN to activate
a list of installed keyboards.
Additional international keyboards can be installed using
the Start Button to navigate to Settings > Control Panel >
Keyboard. Use the Input Locales tab to add additional
keyboard drivers from Microsoft's Multilingual Support
Some reasons why a Unicode font might not work in a given application are:
The application may not recognize the range of Unicode or code pages in a particular keyboard driver.
The font may not have the code page or Unicode characters properly defined.
The user may not have the proper keyboard driver installed.
HTML files may not have the code page (Character Set) defined properly or the browser preferences may not be set to display the proper code page
Created : 2013-11-05 18:04:17, Last Modified : 2013-11-05 18:08:23