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Character Encoding Meaning – What Is Unicode Character Encoding?

Character encoding is the method used to encode a character from its standard form into code.

For instance, assuming you assigned the numeral 0037 to character 7 as its unique identification number. In that case, the system you used to set code 0037 to character 7 is what we called "character encoding."

In other words, you used a character encoding system to encode character 7.

Character encoding system makes it possible to convert characters into bits. For example, it allows converting the capital letter K to bits by first getting its code point (the hexadecimal number 004B). And then transforming the hex value to binary digits (0000000001001011).

note

Computers can only read bits. So, having a way to convert characters to bits is fundamental, thus the importance of character encoding!

Character encoding facilitates converting human-readable characters, like digits, letters, and symbols, to computer-readable forms by mapping (linking) characters to code points, which machines can then translate into bits.

Types of Character Encoding

There are numerous character encoding systems for encode characters. You can even invent one for your company, family, or church.

Creating a character encoding system is as easy as saying, "In this firm, 578 represents the letter Z." Therefore, within such a company, whenever a staff references the character set 578, everyone knows they imply the capital letter Z.

In computing, ASCII and Unicode are the two popular character encoding systems. But most people recommend Unicode because it contains virtually all the world's characters (including those in ASCII).

What Exactly Is Unicode?

Unicode is a character encoding organization that assigns code points (unique identification numbers) to virtually all the characters in the world.

tip

Think of any character—you will most likely find it in the Unicode Character Code Charts.

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Syntax of a Unicode Code Point

A Unicode code point comprises a capital letter U, a plus sign (+), and a hexadecimal numeral. Here is the syntax:

U+<hexadecimal>

Example of a Unicode Code Point

U+2708

Above is the Unicode code point of an airplane emoji (✈).

How to Convert Unicode to CSS Code Point

Here's how to convert a Unicode number to a CSS code point:

  • Replace the Unicode's U+ character set with a backslash (\).

For instance, \2709 is the CSS codepoint for the U+2709 Unicode number.

How to Convert Unicode to HTML Code Point

Here's how to convert a Unicode number to an HTML code point:

  1. Replace the Unicode's U+ character set with ampersand and hash (&#).
  2. Convert the Unicode's hexadecimal numerals to decimal digits.
  3. Place a semicolon (;) after the decimal character set.

For instance, &#9992; is the HTML codepoint for the U+2708 Unicode number.

note
  • 9992 is the decimal equivalent of the 2708 hexadecimal number.
  • In an HTML codepoint, the &# sign means HTML. And the semicolon symbol (;) means entity. Therefore, &#9992; implies "HTML 9992 entity."

How to Convert CSS Code Point to Unicode

Here's how to convert a CSS code point to Unicode:

  • Replace the CSS code point's backslash (\) with the capital letter U and a plus sign (+).

For instance, U+2606 is the Unicode number for the \2606 CSS code point.

How to Convert HTML Code Point to Unicode

Here's how to convert an HTML code point to Unicode:

  1. Replace the HTML code point's &# character set with the capital letter U and a plus sign (+).
  2. Convert the HTML code point's decimal numerals to hexadecimal.
  3. Delete the semicolon (;) character.

For instance, U+260F is the Unicode number for the &#9743; HTML code point.

note

260F is the hexadecimal equivalent of the 9743 decimal number.

Overview

This article discussed what character encoding means. We also talked about the Unicode encoding system.