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Multilingual computing


The Unicode specification includes a huge number of different letters, symbols, characters, mathematical and musical symbols, dingbats, etc (known collectively as 'glyphs'). Each glyph is given a unique number and any piece of software that supports Unicode can, in theory, display any of the glyphs. In practice, this only happens if you have Unicode enabled fonts containing the relevant glyphs.

Unicode enabled fonts generally include only a subset of the total Unicode specification, for example Latin, Greek, Cyrillic and Thai, though there are a few fonts, such as Arial Unicode MS, which include a large proportion of the specification. Arial Unicode MS is included with Microsoft Office 2000.

The latest version of Unicode (6.0) specifies nearly 110,000 glyphs. The following scripts are supported:

Arabic, Armenian, Balinese, Bamum, Batak, Bengali, Bopomofo, Brahmi, Braille, Buginese, Buhid, Burmese, Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, Cherokee, Chinese characters, Coptic, Cyrillic, Deseret, Devanagari, Ethiopic, Georgian, Glagolitic, Gothic, Greek, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Hanunoo, Hiragana, Latin, Limbu, Mandaic, Malayalam, Mongolian, Hebrew, Kannada, Kharosthi, Katakana, Korean, Lao, Mandaic, New Tai Lue, N'Ko, Ogham, Old Italic, Old Persian, Oriya, Osmanya (Somali), Phags-pa, Phoenician, Runic, Shavian, Sinhala, Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform, Syloti Nagri, Syriac, Tagbanwa, Tagalog, Tai Le, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Thaana, Tibetan, Tifinagh, Ugaritic, Yi

The Unicode specification also includes mathmatical symbols, musical notation and other assorted miscellaneous symbols.

You can use Unicode to add text in just about any language to webpages and even to mix languages/scripts on the same page. You can see examples of this on the following pages:

Further information about Unicode can be found at: and at: (includes links to unicode fonts and software)

List of applications that support unicode

Information about character sets and internationalisation

Free Unicode text editor (includes Bitmap fonts for most of the scripts included in version 3.1 of Unicode):

Free Unicode text editor for the X Window systems

Computing with Accents, Symbols & Foreign Scripts

Unicode fonts

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