Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Using the CHAR or UNICHAR Function to Generate Any Character
Using the
Using the CHAR
CHAR oor UNICHAR
UNICHAR Function to Generate Any Character
Function to Generate Any Character
Early computers used a character set of 128 ASCII characters. Any com-
puter that you ve had in your home offered at least an 8-bit processor
and could easily display 255 characters. Thus, computers sold in the United
States offered the original 128 ASCII characters and an extended 128 char-
acters with accented characters needed for German, French, and some other
European languages. The CHAR() function makes it possible to display any
of these 255 characters.
Today, the Unicode character set includes 110,000 characters, covering most
written languages used on Earth. Unicode includes glyphs used in languages
from Aboriginal to Yijing. You will find glyphs from Braille, Burmese,
Cherokee, Greek, Old Persian, and many languages that you have not heard
of. There are also map symbols, playing card symbols, emoticons, dice, dom-
ino, and mahjong markings. Unfortunately, the Unicode organization offi-
cially rejected including Klingon in 2001. Also, although the Calibri font
will render chess, dice, and playing card symbols, it does not support domino
or mahjong.
Tip
Although I know a few characters off the top of my head, I usually
take a look at all characters in a set by entering =CHAR(ROW())
=CHAR(ROW()) in
cells A1:A255. This returns character 65 in row 65, and so on. In
Excel 2013, you can use =UNICHAR(ROW()) in column A1:A1048576 to
browse for symbols. To find something in particular, check out ht-
tp://www.alanwood.net/unicode/menu.html .
All versions of Excel supported CHAR() to generate symbols 0 through 255.
Excel 2013 adds support for UNICHAR() to render the 100,000+ symbols
defined by Unicode.
You might have ventured into Start, All Programs, Accessories, System
Tools, Character Map to find a particular character in the Wingdings char-
acter set. Also, if you have a favorite symbol, you might have memorized
that you can insert the symbol by using a hotkey. For example, if you hold
down Alt, type 0169 on the numeric keypad, and then release Alt, an Office
program inserts the copyright symbol (©).
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