Unicodedata Txt Descriptive Essay

You have stumbled over the general problem with encodings: How can I tell in which encoding a file is?

Answer: You can't unless the file format provides for this. XML, for example, begins with:

This header was carefully chosen so that it can be read no matter the encoding. In your case, there is no such hint, hence neither your editor nor Python has any idea what is going on. Therefore, you must use the module and use which provides the missing bit in Python.

As for your editor, you must check if it offers some way to set the encoding of a file.

The point of UTF-8 is to be able to encode 21-bit characters (Unicode) as an 8-bit data stream (because that's the only thing all computers in the world can handle). But since most OSs predate the Unicode era, they don't have suitable tools to attach the encoding information to files on the hard disk.

The next issue is the representation in Python. This is explained perfectly in the comment by heikogerlach. You must understand that your console can only display ASCII. In order to display Unicode or anything >= charcode 128, it must use some means of escaping. In your editor, you must not type the escaped display string but what the string means (in this case, you must enter the umlaut and save the file).

That said, you can use the Python function eval() to turn an escaped string into a string:

As you can see, the string "\xc3" has been turned into a single character. This is now an 8-bit string, UTF-8 encoded. To get Unicode:

Gregg Lind asked: I think there are some pieces missing here: the file f2 contains: hex:

, for example, reads them all in a separate chars (expected) Is there any way to write to a file in ASCII that would work?

Answer: That depends on what you mean. ASCII can't represent characters > 127. So you need some way to say "the next few characters mean something special" which is what the sequence "\x" does. It says: The next two characters are the code of a single character. "\u" does the same using four characters to encode Unicode up to 0xFFFF (65535).

So you can't directly write Unicode to ASCII (because ASCII simply doesn't contain the same characters). You can write it as string escapes (as in f2); in this case, the file can be represented as ASCII. Or you can write it as UTF-8, in which case, you need an 8-bit safe stream.

Your solution using does work, but you must be aware how much memory you use: Three times the amount of using .

Remember that a file is just a sequence of bytes with 8 bits. Neither the bits nor the bytes have a meaning. It's you who says "65 means 'A'". Since should become "à" but the computer has no means to know, you must tell it by specifying the encoding which was used when writing the file.

Unicode® Standard Annex #44

Unicode Character Database


This annex provides the core documentation for the Unicode Character Database (UCD). It describes the layout and organization of the Unicode Character Database and how it specifies the formal definitions of the Unicode Character Properties.


This document has been reviewed by Unicode members and other interested parties, and has been approved for publication by the Unicode Consortium. This is a stable document and may be used as reference material or cited as a normative reference by other specifications.

A Unicode Standard Annex (UAX) forms an integral part of the Unicode Standard, but is published online as a separate document. The Unicode Standard may require conformance to normative content in a Unicode Standard Annex, if so specified in the Conformance chapter of that version of the Unicode Standard. The version number of a UAX document corresponds to the version of the Unicode Standard of which it forms a part.

Please submit corrigenda and other comments with the online reporting form [Feedback]. Related information that is useful in understanding this annex is found in Unicode Standard Annex #41, “Common References for Unicode Standard Annexes.” For the latest version of the Unicode Standard, see [Unicode]. For a list of current Unicode Technical Reports, see [Reports]. For more information about versions of the Unicode Standard, see [Versions]. For any errata which may apply to this annex, see [Errata].


Note: the information in this annex is not intended as an exhaustive description of the use and interpretation of Unicode character properties and behavior. It must be used in conjunction with the data in the other files in the Unicode Character Database, and relies on the notation and definitions supplied in The Unicode Standard. All chapter references are to Version 10.0.0 of the standard unless otherwise indicated.

1 Introduction

The Unicode Standard is far more than a simple encoding of characters. The standard also associates a rich set of semantics with each encoded character—properties that are required for interoperability and correct behavior in implementations, as well as for Unicode conformance. These semantics are cataloged in the Unicode Character Database (UCD), a collection of data files which contain the Unicode character code points and character names. The data files define the Unicode character properties and mappings between Unicode characters (such as case mappings).

This annex describes the UCD and provides a guide to the various documentation files associated with it. Additional information about character properties and their use is contained in the Unicode Standard and its annexes. In particular, implementers should familiarize themselves with the formal definitions and conformance requirements for properties detailed in Section 3.5, Properties in [Unicode] and with the material in Chapter 4, Character Properties in [Unicode].

The latest version of the UCD is always located on the Unicode website at:


The specific files for the UCD associated with this version of the Unicode Standard (10.0.0) are located at:


Stable, archived versions of the UCD associated with all earlier versions of the Unicode Standard can be accessed from:


For a description of the changes in the UCD for this version and earlier versions, see the UCD Change History.

2 Conformance

The Unicode Character Database is an integral part of the Unicode Standard.

The UCD contains normative property and mapping information required for implementation of various Unicode algorithms such as the Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm, Unicode Normalization, and Unicode Casefolding. The data files also contain additional informative and provisional character property information.

Each specification of a Unicode algorithm, whether specified in the text of [Unicode] or in one of the Unicode Standard Annexes, designates which data file(s) in the UCD are needed to provide normative property information required by that algorithm.

For information on the meaning and application of the terms, normative, informative, and provisional, see Section 3.5, Properties in [Unicode].

For information about the applicable terms of use for the UCD, see the Unicode Terms of Use.

2.1 Simple and Derived Properties

2.1.1 Simple Properties

Some character properties in the UCD are simple properties. This status has no bearing on whether or not the properties are normative, but merely indicates that their values are not derived from some combination of other properties.

2.1.2 Derived Properties

Other character properties are derived. This means that their values are derived by rule from some other combination of properties. Generally such rules are stated as set operations, and may or may not include explicit exception lists for individual characters.

Certain simple properties are defined merely to make the statement of the rule defining a derived property more compact or general. Such properties are known as contributory properties. Sometimes these contributory properties are defined to encapsulate the messiness inherent in exception lists. At other times, a contributory property may be defined to help stabilize the definition of an important derived property which is subject to stability guarantees.

Derived character properties are not considered second-class citizens among Unicode character properties. They are defined to make implementation of important algorithms easier to state. Included among the first-class derived properties important for such implementations are: Uppercase, Lowercase, XID_Start, XID_Continue, Math, and Default_Ignorable_Code_Point, all defined in DerivedCoreProperties.txt, as well as derived properties for the optimization of normalization, defined in DerivedNormalizationProps.txt.

Implementations should simply use the derived properties, and should not try to rederive them from lists of simple properties and collections of rules, because of the chances for error and divergence when doing so.

Definitions of property derivations are provided for information only, typically in comment fields in the data files. Such definitions may be refactored, refined, or corrected over time. These definitions are presented in a modified set notation, expressed as set additions and/or subtractions of various other property values. For example:

# Derived Property: ID_Start # Characters that can start an identifier. # Generated from: # Lu + Ll + Lt + Lm + Lo + Nl # + Other_ID_Start # - Pattern_Syntax # - Pattern_White_Space

When interpreting definitions of derived properties of this sort, keep in mind that set subtraction is not a commutative operation. Thus "Lo + Lm - Pattern_Syntax" defines a different set than "Lo - Pattern_Syntax + Lm". The order of property set operations stated in the definitions affects the composition of the derived set.

If there are any cases of mismatches between the definition of a derived property as listed in DerivedCoreProperties.txt or similar data files in the UCD, and the definition of a derived property as a set definition rule, the explicit listing in the data file should always be taken as the normative definition of the property. As described in Stability of Releases the property listing in the data files for any given version of the standard will never change for that version.

2.1.3 Properties Dependent on External Specifications

In limited cases, a Unicode character property defined in the Unicode Character Database may have an external dependency on another specification which is not a part of the Unicode Standard, and whose data is not formally part of the UCD. In such cases, version stabiity for the UCD is attained by requiring that dependency to be based on a known, published version of the external specification.

As of Version 10.0 of the UCD, the clear example of such an external dependency is the derivation of some segmentation-related character properties, in part based on emoji properties associated with UTS #51, "Unicode Emoji" [UTS51]. The details of the derivation are described in the respective annexes, [UAX14] and [UAX29], as well as in the documentation portions of the associated UCD property files. See [Data14] and [Props]. The version of UTS #51 used for those segmentation properties in Version 10.0 of the UCD is clearly identified in those annexes and data files.

An external dependency may impact either a simple or a derived property. For example, the Line_Break property is considered a simple, enumerated property. However, two of the enumerated values, lb=Emoji_Base and lb=Emoji_Modifier, are synchronized with the associated emoji properties in emoji-data.txt. In the case of the derived segmentation properties associated with UAX #29, Grapheme_Cluster_Break, Word_Break, and Sentence_Break, the dependencies are considerably more complex. See [UAX29] for full details.

2.2 Use of Default Values

Unicode character properties have default values. Default values are the value or values that a character property takes for an unassigned code point, or in some instances, for designated subranges of code points, whether assigned or unassigned. For example, the default value of a binary Unicode character property is always "N".

For the formal discussion of default values, see D26 in Section 3.5, Properties in [Unicode]. For conventions related to default values in various data files of the UCD and for documentation regarding the particular default values of individual Unicode character properties, see Default Values.

2.3 Stability of Releases

Just as for the Unicode Standard as a whole, each version of the UCD, once published, is absolutely stable and will never change. Each released version is archived in a directory on the Unicode website, with a directory number associated with that version. URLs pointing to that version's directory are also stable and will be maintained in perpetuity.

Any errors discovered for a released version of the UCD are noted in [Errata], and if appropriate will be corrected in a subsequent version of the UCD.

Stability guarantees constraining how Unicode character properties can (or cannot) change between releases of the UCD are documented in the Unicode Consortium Stability Policies [Stability].

2.3.1 Changes to Properties Between Releases

Updates to character properties in the Unicode Character Database may be required for any of three reasons:

  1. To cover new characters added to the standard
  2. To add new character properties to the standard
  3. To change the assigned values for a property for some characters already in the standard

While the Unicode Consortium endeavors to keep the values of all character properties as stable as possible between versions, occasionally circumstances may arise which require changing them. In particular, as less well-documented scripts, such as those for minority languages, or historic scripts are added to the standard, the exact character properties and behavior may not fully be known when the script is first encoded. The properties for some of these characters may change as further information becomes available or as implementations turn up problems in the initial property assignments. As far as possible, any readjustment of property values based on growing implementation experience is made to be compatible with established practice.

All changes to normative or informative property values, to the status or type of a property, or to property or property value aliases, must be approved by an explicit decision taken by the Unicode Technical Committee. Changes to provisional property values are subject to less stringent oversight.

Occasionally, a character property value is changed to prevent incorrect generalizations about a character's use based on its nominal property values. For example, U+200B ZERO WIDTH SPACE was originally classified as a space character (General_Category=Zs), but it was reclassified as a Format character (General_Category=Cf) to clearly distinguish it from space characters in its function as a format control for line breaking.

There is no guarantee that a particular value for an enumerated property will actually have characters associated with it. Also, because of changes in property value assignments between versions of the standard, a property value that once had characters associated with it may later have none. Such conditions and changes are rare, but implementations must not assume that all property values are associated with non-null sets of characters. For example, currently the special Script property value Katakana_Or_Hiragana has no characters associated with it.

2.3.2 Obsolete Properties

In some instances an entire property may become obsolete. For example, the ISO_Comment property was once used to keep track of annotations for characters used in the production of name lists for ISO/IEC 10646 code charts. As of Unicode 5.2.0 that property became obsolete, and its value is now defaulted to the null string for all Unicode code points.

An obsolete property is never removed from the UCD.

2.3.3 Deprecated Properties

Occasionally an obsolete property may also be formally deprecated. This is an indication that the property is no longer recommended for use, perhaps because its original intent has been replaced by another property or because its specification was somehow defective. See also the general discussion of Deprecation.

A deprecated property is never removed from the UCD.

Table 1 lists the properties that are formally deprecated as of this version of the Unicode Standard.

Table 1. Deprecated Properties


2.3.4 Stabilized Properties

Another possibility is that an obsolete property may be declared to be stabilized. Such a determination does not indicate that the property should or should not be used; instead it is a declaration that the UTC (Unicode Technical Committee) will no longer actively maintain the property or extend it for newly encoded characters. The property values of a stabilized property are frozen as of a particular release of the standard.

A stabilized property is never removed from the UCD.

Table 2 lists the properties that are formally stabilized as of this version of the Unicode Standard.

Table 2. Stabilized Properties


3 Documentation

This annex provides the core documentation for the UCD, but additional information about character properties is available in other parts of the standard and in additional documentation files contained within the UCD.

3.1 Character Properties in the Standard

The formal definitions related to character properties used by the Unicode Standard are documented in Section 3.5, Properties in [Unicode]. Understanding those definitions and related terminology is essential to the appropriate use of Unicode character properties.

See Section 4.1, Unicode Character Database, in [Unicode] for a general discussion of the UCD and its use in defining properties. The rest of Chapter 4 provides important explanations regarding the meaning and use of various normative character properties.

3.2 The Character Property Model

For a general discussion of the property model which underlies the definitions associated with the UCD, see Unicode Technical Report #23, "The Unicode Character Property Model" [UTR23]. That technical report is informative, but over the years various content from it has been incorporated into normative portions of the Unicode Standard, particularly for the definitions in Chapter 3.

UTR #23 also discusses string functions and their relation to character properties.

3.3 NamesList.html

NamesList.html formally describes the format of the NamesList.txt data file in BNF. That data file is used to drive the printing of the Unicode code charts and names list. See also Section 24.1, Character Names List, in [Unicode] for a detailed discussion of the conventions used in the Unicode names list as formatted for printing.

3.4 StandardizedVariants.html

StandardizedVariants.html has been obsoleted as of Version 9.0 of the UCD. This file formerly documented standardized variants, showing a representative glyph for each. It was closely tied to the data file, StandardizedVariants.txt, which defines those sequences normatively.

The function of StandardizedVariants.html to show representative glyphs for standardized variants has been superseded. There are now better means of illustrating the glyphs. Many standardized variation sequences are shown in the Unicode code charts directly, in summary sections at the ends of the names list for any block which contains them. Glyphs for standardized variants of CJK compatibility ideographs are also shown directly in the Unicode code charts. Because of the specialized font display requirements for emoji, often involving color, the standardized emoji variation sequences are not shown in the Unicode code charts, but have their own dedicated display page instead.

3.5 Emoji Variation Sequences

Starting with Version 9.0.0, the following page in the Unicode emoji subsite area shows appropriate representative glyphs for all emoji variation sequences:


Emoji variation sequences are a subset of standardized variation sequences, consisting of an emoji base followed either by the variation selector U+FE0E or the variation selector U+FE0F. Such sequences come in pairs, with the sequence using U+FE0E shown with a black and white text presentation, as seen in the Unicode code charts, and with the sequence using U+FE0F shown with a colorful icon, as usually seen in emoji implementations on mobile devices and elsewhere.

3.6 Unihan and UAX #38

Unicode Standard Annex #38, "Unicode Han Database (Unihan)" [UAX38] describes the format and content of the Unihan Database, which collects together all property information for CJK Unified Ideographs. That annex also specifies in detail which of the Unihan character properties are normative, informative, or provisional.

The Unihan Database contains extensive and detailed mapping information for CJK Unified Ideographs encoded in the Unicode Standard, but it is aimed only at those ideographs, not at other characters used in the East Asian context in general. In contrast, East Asian legacy character sets, including important commercial and national character set standards, contain many non-CJK characters. As a result, the Unihan Database must be supplemented from other sources to establish mapping tables for those character sets.

The majority of the content of the Unihan Database is released for each version of the Unicode Standard as a collection of Unihan data files in the UCD. Because of their large size, these data files are released only as a zipped file, Unihan.zip. The details of the particular data files in Unihan.zip and the CJK properties each one contains are provided in [UAX38]. For versions of the UCD prior to Version 5.2.0, all of the CJK properties were listed together in a very large, single file, Unihan.txt.

3.7 UTC-Source Ideographs and UAX #45

Unicode Standard Annex #45, "U-Source Ideographs" [UAX45] describes the format of USourceData.txt, which lists all of the information for UTC-Source ideographs.

3.8 Data File Comments

In addition to the specific documentation files for the UCD, individual data files often contain extensive header comments describing their content and any special conventions used in the data.

In some instances, individual property definition sections also contain comments with information about how the property may be derived. Such comments are informative; while they are intended to convey the intent of the derivation, in case of any mismatch between a statement of a derivation in a comment field and the actual listing of the derived property, the list is considered to be definitive. See Simple and Derived Properties.

3.9 Obsolete Documentation Files

UCD.html was formerly the primary documentation file for the UCD. As of Version 5.2.0, its content has been wholly incorporated into this document.

Unihan.html was formerly the primary documentation file for the Unihan Database. As of Version 5.1.0, its content has been wholly incorporated into [UAX38].

Versions of the Unicode Standard prior to Version 4.0.0 contained small, focused documentation files, UnicodeCharacterDatabase.html, PropList.html, and DerivedProperties.html, which were later consolidated into UCD.html.

StandardizedVariants.html has been obsoleted as of Version 9.0.0. See Section 3.4, StandardizedVariants.html.

4 UCD Files

The heart of the UCD consists of the data files themselves. This section describes the directory structure for the UCD, the format conventions for the data files, and provides documentation for data files not documented elsewhere in this annex.

4.1 Directory Structure

Each version of the UCD is released in a separate, numbered directory under the Public directory on the Unicode website. The content of that directory is complete for that release. It is also stable—once released, it will be archived permanently in that directory, unchanged, at a stable URL.

The specific files for the UCD associated with this version of the Unicode Standard (10.0.0) are located at:


The latest released version of the UCD is always accessible via the following stable URL:


Zipped copies of the latest released version of the UCD are always accessible via the following stable URL:


Prior to Version 6.3.0, access to the latest released version of the UCD was via the following stable URL:


That "UNIDATA" URL will be maintained, but is no longer recommended, because it points to the ucd subdirectory of the latest release, rather than to the parent directory for the release. The "UNIDATA" naming convention is also very old, and does not follow the directory naming conventions currently used for other data releases in the Public directory on the Unicode website.

4.1.1 UCD Files Proper

The UCD proper is located in the ucd subdirectory of the numbered version directory. That directory contains all of the documentation files and most of the data files for the UCD, including some data files for derived properties.

Although all UCD data files are version-specific for a release and most contain internal date and version stamps, the file names of the released data files do not differ from version to version. When linking to a version-specific data file, the version will be indicated by the version number of the directory for the release.

All files for derived extracted properties are in the extracted subdirectory of the ucd subdirectory. See Derived Extracted Properties for documentation regarding those data files and their content.

A number of auxiliary properties are specified in files in the auxiliary subdirectory of the ucd subdirectory. It contains data files specifying properties associated with Unicode Standard Annex #29, "Unicode Text Segmentation" [UAX29] and with Unicode Standard Annex #14, "Unicode Line Breaking Algorithm" [UAX14], as well as test data for those algorithms. See Segmentation Test Files and Documentation for more information about the test data.

4.1.2 UCD XML Files

The XML version of the UCD is located in the ucdxml subdirectory of the numbered version directory. See the UCD in XML for more details.

4.1.3 Charts

The code charts specific to a version of Unicode are archived as a single large pdf file in the charts subdirectory of the numbered version directory. See the readme.txt in that subdirectory and the general web page explaining the Unicode Code Charts for more details.

4.1.4 Beta Review Considerations

Prior to the formal release for any particular version of the UCD, a beta review is conducted. The beta review files are located in the same directory that is later used for the released UCD, but during the beta review period, the subdirectory structure differs somewhat and may contain temporary files, including documentation of diffs between deltas for the beta review. Also, during the beta review, all data file names are suffixed with version numbers and delta numbers. So a typical file name during beta review may be "PropList-5.2.0d13.txt" instead of the finally released "PropList.txt".

Notices contained in a ReadMe.txt file in the UCD directory during the beta review period also make it clear that that directory contains preliminary material under review, rather than a final, stable release.

4.1.5 File Directory Differences for Early Releases

The UCD in XML was introduced in Version 5.1.0, so UCD directories prior to that do not contain the ucdxml subdirectory.

UCD directories prior to Version 4.1.0 do not contain the auxiliary subdirectory.

UCD directories prior to Version 3.2.0 do not contain the extracted subdirectory.

The general structure of the file directory for a released version of the UCD described above applies to Versions 4.1.0 and later. Prior to Version 4.1.0, versions of the UCD were not self-contained, complete sets of data files for that version, but instead only contained any new data files or any data files which had changed since the prior release.

Because of this, the property files for a given version prior to Version 4.1.0 can be spread over several directories. Consult the component listings at Enumerated Versions to find out which files in which directories comprise a complete set of data files for that version.

The directory naming conventions and the file naming conventions also differed prior to Version 4.1.0. So, for example, Version 4.0.0 of the UCD is contained in a directory named 4.0-Update, and Version 4.0.1 of the UCD in a directory named 4.0-Update1. Furthermore, for these earlier versions, the data file names do contain explicit version numbers.

4.2 File Format Conventions

Files in the UCD use the format conventions described in this section, unless otherwise specified.

4.2.1 Data Fields

  • Each line of data consists of fields separated by semicolons. The fields are numbered starting with zero.
  • The first field (0) of each line in the Unicode Character Database files represents a code point or range. The remaining fields (1..n) are properties associated with that code point.
  • Leading and trailing spaces within a field are not significant. However, no leading or trailing spaces are allowed in any field of UnicodeData.txt. For legacy reasons, no spaces are allowed before or after the semicolon in LineBreak.txt and in EastAsianWidth.txt.
  • The Unihan data files in the UCD have a separate format, using tab characters instead of semicolons to separate fields. See [UAX38] for the detailed specification of the format of the Unihan data files. The data files TangutSources.txt and NushuSources.txt also use this format.

4.2.2 Code Points and Sequences

  • Code points are expressed as hexadecimal numbers with four to six digits. They are written without the "U+" prefix in all data files except the Unihan data files. The Unihan data files use the "U+" prefix for all Unicode code points, to distinguish them from other decimal and hexadecimal numerical references occurring in their data fields.
  • When a data field contains a sequence of code points, spaces separate the code points.

4.2.3 Code Point Ranges

  • A range of code points is specified by the form "X..Y".
  • Each code point in a range has the associated property value specified on a data file. For example (from Blocks.txt):
    0000..007F; Basic Latin 0080..00FF; Latin-1 Supplement
  • For backward compatibility, ranges in the file UnicodeData.txt are specified by entries for the start and end characters of the range, rather than by the form "X..Y". The start character is indicated by a range identifier, followed by a comma and the string "First", in angle brackets. This entry takes the place of a regular character name in field 1 for that line. The end character is indicated on the next line with the same range identifier, followed by a comma and the string "Last", in angle brackets:
    4E00;<CJK Ideograph, First>;Lo;0;L;;;;;N;;;;; 9FD5;<CJK Ideograph, Last>;Lo;0;L;;;;;N;;;;;
    For character ranges using this convention, the names of all characters in the range are algorithmically derivable. See Section 4.8, Name in [Unicode] for more information on derivation of character names for such ranges.


  • U+0023 NUMBER SIGN ("#") is used to indicate comments: all characters from the number sign to the end of the line are considered part of the comment, and are disregarded when parsing data.
  • In many files, the comments on data lines use a common format, as illustrated here (from Scripts.txt):
    09B2 ; Bengali # Lo BENGALI LETTER LA
  • The first part of a comment using this common format is the General_Category value, provided for information. This is followed by the character name for the code point in the first field (0).
  • The printing of the General_Category value is suppressed in instances where it would be redundant, as for DerivedGeneralCategory.txt, in which the value of the property value in the data field is already the General_Category value.
  • The symbol "L&" indicates characters of General_Category Lu, Ll, or Lt (uppercase, lowercase, or titlecase letter). For example:
    L& as used in these comments is an alias for the derived LC value (cased letter) for the General_Category property, as documented in PropertyValueAliases.txt.
  • When the data line contains a range of code points, this common format for a comment also indicates a range of character names, separated by "..", as illustrated here (from DerivedNumericType.txt):
  • Normally, consecutive characters with the same property value would be represented by a single code point range. In data files using this comment convention, such ranges are subdivided so that all characters in a range also have the same General_Category value (or LC). While this convention results in more ranges than are strictly necessary, it makes the contents of the ranges clearer.
  • When a code point range occurs, the number of items in the range is included in the comment (in square brackets), immediately following the General_Category value.
  • The comments are purely informational, and may change format or be omitted in the future. They should not be parsed for content.

4.2.5 Code Point Labels

  • Surrogate code points, private-use characters, control codes, noncharacters, and unassigned code points have no names. When such code points are listed in the data files, for example to list their General_Category values, the comments use code point labels instead of character names. For example (from DerivedCoreProperties.txt):
    2065 ; Default_Ignorable_Code_Point # Cn <reserved-2065>
  • Code point labels use one of the tags as documented in Section 4.8, Name in [Unicode] and as shown in Table 3, followed by "-" and the code point expressed in hexadecimal. The entire label is then enclosed in angle brackets.

Table 3. Code Point Label Tags



4.2.6 Multiple Properties in One Data File

  • When a file contains the specification for multiple properties, the second field specifies the name of the property and the third field specifies the property value. For example (from DerivedNormalizationProps.txt):

4.2.7 Binary Property Values

  • For binary properties, the second field specifies the name of the applicable property, with the implied value of the property being "True". Only the ranges of characters with the binary property value of "Y" (= True) are listed. For example (from PropList.txt):
    1680 ; White_Space # Zs OGHAM SPACE MARK 2000..200A ; White_Space # Zs [11] EN QUAD..HAIR SPACE

4.2.8 Multiple Values for Properties

  • When a data file defines a property which may take multiple values for a single code point, the multiple values are expressed in a space-delimited list. For example (from ScriptExtensions.txt):
    0640 ; Adlm Arab Mand Mani Phlp Syrc # Lm ARABIC TATWEEL
  • In some cases—but not all—the order of multiple elements in a space-delimited list may be significant. When the order of multiple elements is significant, it is documented along with the property itself. For example (from Unihan_Readings.txt), for the tag kMandarin, when there are two values for a code point, the first value is used to indicate a preferred pronunciation for zh-Hans (CN) and the second a preferred pronunciation for zh-Hant (TW).
  • For further discussion, see Section 5.7.6 Properties Whose Values Are Sets of Values.

4.2.9 Default Values

  • Entries for a code point may be omitted in a data file if the code point has a default value for the property in question.
  • For string properties, including the definition of foldings, the default value is the code point of the character itself.
  • For miscellaneous properties which take strings as values, such as the Unicode Name property, the default value is a null string.
  • For binary properties, the default value is always "N" (= False) and is always omitted.
  • For enumerated and catalog properties, the default value is listed in a comment. For example (from Scripts.txt):
    # All code points not explicitly listed for Script # have the value Unknown (Zzzz).
  • A few properties of the enumerated type have multiple default values. In those cases, comments in the file explain the code point ranges for applicable values. See also Table 4.
  • Default values are also listed in specially-formatted comment lines, using the keyword "@missing". Parsers which extract and process these lines can algorithmically determine the default values for all code points. See @missing Conventions for details about the syntax and use of these lines.
  • Because of the legacy format constraints for UnicodeData.txt, that file contains no specific information about default values for properties. The default values for fields in UnicodeData.txt are documented in Table 4 below if they cannot be derived from the general rules about default values for properties.
  • The file ArabicShaping.txt is also exceptional, because it omits the listing of many characters whose property value (jt=T) can be derived by rule. Adding an "@missing" line to that file would result in the wrong interpretation of Joining_Type values for omitted characters. The full explicit listing of Joining_Type values and the correct "@missing" line for the default Joining_Type value (jt=U) can be found in the file DerivedJoiningType.txt instead.

Default values for common catalog, enumeration, and numeric properties are listed in Table 4. Further explanation is provided below the table, in those cases where the default values are complex, as indicated in the third column.

Table 4. Default Values for Properties

Property NameDefault Value(s)Complex?
AgeUnassigned (= NA)No
Bidi_ClassL, AL, R, BN, ETYes
Canonical_Combining_ClassNot_Reordered (= 0)No
East_Asian_WidthNeutral (= N), Wide (= W)Yes
Line_BreakUnknown (= XX), ID, PRYes
ScriptUnknown (= Zzzz)No
Vertical_OrientationRotated (= R), Upright (= U)Yes

Complex default values are those which take multiple values, contingent on code point ranges or other conditions. Complex default values other than those specified in the "@missing" line are explicitly listed in the relevant property file, except for instances noted in this section. This means that a parser extracting property values from the UCD should never encounter an ambiguous condition for which the default value of a property for a particular code point is unclear.

Default values for the Bidi_Class property are complex. See Unicode Standard Annex #9, "Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm" [UAX9] and DerivedBidiClass.txt for full details.

Default values for the East_Asian_Width property are complex. This property defaults to Neutral for most code points, but defaults to Wide for unassigned code points in blocks associated with CJK ideographs. See Unicode Standard Annex #11, "East Asian Width" [UAX11] and EastAsianWidth.txt for documentation of the default values and DerivedEastAsianWidth.txt for the full listing of values.

Default values for the Line_Break property are complex. This property defaults to Unknown for most code points, but defaults to ID for unassigned code points in blocks associated with CJK ideographs, and in blocks in the range U+1F000..U+1FFFD. The property defaults to PR for unassigned code points in the Currency Symbols block. See Unicode Standard Annex #14, "Unicode Line Breaking Algorithm" [UAX14] and LineBreak.txt for documentation of the default values and DerivedLineBreak.txt for the full listing of values.

Default values for the Vertical_Orientation property are complex. This property defaults to Rotated (R) for most code points, but defaults to Upright (U) for unassigned code points in blocks associated with scripts that are themselves predominantly Upright. See Unicode Standard Annex #50, "Unicode Vertical Text Layout" [UAX50] and VerticalOrientation.txt for full details.

4.2.10 @missing Conventions

Specially-formatted comment lines with the keyword "@missing" are used to define default property values for ranges of code points not explicitly listed in a data file. These lines follow regular conventions that make them machine-readable.

An @missing line starts with the comment character "#", followed by a space, then the "@missing" keyword, followed by a colon, another space, a code point range, and a semicolon. Then the line typically continues with a semicolon-delimited list of one or more default property values. For example:

# @missing: 0000..10FFFF; Unknown

In general, the code point range and semicolon-delimited list follow the same syntactic conventions as the data file in which the @missing line occurs, so that any parser which interprets that data file can easily be adapted to also parse and interpret an @missing line to pick up default property values for code points.

@missing lines are also supplied for many properties in the file PropertyValueAliases.txt. In this case, because there are many @missing lines in that single data file, each @missing line contains an additional second field specifying the property name for which it defines a default value.

An @missing line is never provided for a binary property, because the default value for binary properties is always "N" and need not be defined redundantly for each binary property.

Because of the addition of property names when @missing lines are included in PropertyValueAliases.txt, there are currently two syntactic patterns used for @missing lines, as summarized schematically below:

  1. code_point_range; default_prop_val
  2. code_point_range; property_name; default_prop_val

In this schematic representation, "default_prop_val" stands in for either an explicit property value or for a special tag such as <none> or <script>.

Pattern #1 is used in most primary and derived UCD files. For example:

# @missing: 0000..10FFFF; <none>

Pattern #2 is used in PropertyValueAliases.txt and in DerivedNormalizationProps.txt, both of which contain values associated with many properties. For example:

# @missing: 0000..10FFFF; NFD_QC; Yes

The special tag values which may occur in the default_prop_val field in an @missing line are interpreted as follows:

<none>the empty string
<code point>the string representation of the code point value
<script>the value equal to the Script property value for this code point


4.2.11 Empty Fields

The data file UnicodeData.txt defines many property values in each record. When a field in a data line for a code point is empty, that indicates that the property takes the default value for that code point. For example:

0022;QUOTATION MARK;Po;0;ON;;;;;N;;;;;

In that data line, the empty numeric fields indicate that the value of Numeric_Value for U+0022 is NaN and that the value of Numeric_Type is None. The empty case mapping fields indicate that the value of Simple_Uppercase_Mapping for U+0022 takes the default value, namely the code point itself, and so forth.

The interpretation of empty fields in other data files of the UCD differs. In the case of data files which define string properties, the omission of an entry for a code point indicates that the property takes the default value for that code point. However, if there is an entry for a code point, but the property value field for that entry is empty, that indicates that the property value is an explicit empty string (""). For example, the derived string property NFKC_Casefold may map a code point to a sequence of code points, to a single different code point, to the same single code point, or to no code point at all (an empty string). See the following entries from the data file DerivedNormalizationProps.txt:


The empty field for U+00AD indicates that the property NFKC_Casefold maps SOFT HYPHEN to an empty string. By contrast, the absence of the entry for U+00AE in the data file indicates that the property NFKC_Casefold maps U+00AE REGISTERED SIGN to itself—the default value.

4.2.12 Text Encoding

  • The data files use UTF-8. Unless otherwise noted, non-ASCII characters only appear in comments.
  • The Unihan data files in the UCD make extensive use of UTF-8 in data fields. (See [UAX38] for details.)
  • For legacy reasons, NamesList.txt was exceptional; it was encoded in Latin-1 prior to Unicode 6.2. For Unicode 6.2 and later, the encoding is UTF-8. See NamesList.html.
  • Segmentation test data files, such as WordBreakTest.txt, make use of non-ASCII (UTF-8) characters as delimiters for data fields.

4.2.13 Line Termination

  • All data files in the UCD use LF line termination (not CRLF line termination). When copied to different systems, these line endings may be automatically changed to use the native line termination conventions for that system. Make sure your editor (or parser) can deal with the line termination style in the local copy of the data files.

4.2.14 Other Conventions

  • In some test data files, segments of the test data are distinguished by a line starting with an "@" sign. For example (from NormalizationTest.txt):
    @Part1 # Character by character test

4.2.15 Other File Formats

  • The data format for Unihan data files and for TangutSources.txt and NushuSources.txt in the UCD differs from the standard format. See the discussion of Unihan and UAX #38 earlier in this annex for more information.
  • The format for NamesList.txt, which documents the Unicode names list and which is used programmatically to drive the formatting program for Unicode code charts, also differs significantly from regular UCD data files. See NamesList.html
  • Index.txt is another exception. It uses a tab-delimited format, with field 0 consisting of an index entry string, and field 1 a code point. Index.txt is used to maintain the Unicode Character Name Index.
  • The various segmentation test data files make use of "#" to delimit comments, but have distinct conventions for their data fields. See the documentation in their header sections for details of the data field formats for those files.
  • The XML version of the UCD has its own file format conventions. In those files, "#" is used to stand for the code point in algorithmically derivable character names such as CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-4E00 or TANGUT IDEOGRAPH-17000, so as to allow for name sharing in more compact representations of the data. See Unicode Standard Annex #42, "Unicode Character Database in XML" [UAX42] for details.

4.3 File List

The exact list of files associated with any particular version of the UCD is available on the Unicode website by referring to the component listings at Enumerated Versions.

The majority of the data files in the UCD provide specifications of character properties for Unicode characters. Those files and their contents are documented in detail in the Property Definitions section below.

The data files in the extracted subdirectory constitute reformatted listings of single character properties extracted from UnicodeData.txt or other primary data files. The reformatting is provided to make it easier to see the particular set of characters having certain values for enumerated properties, or to separate the statement of that property from other properties defined together in UnicodeData.txt. These files also include explicit listings of default values for the respective properties. These extracted, derived data files are further documented in the Derived Extracted Properties section below.

The UCD also contains a number of test data files, whose purpose is to provide standard test cases useful in verifying the implementation of complex Unicode algorithms. See the Test Files section below for more documentation.

The remaining files in the Unicode Character Database do not directly specify Unicode properties. The important ones and their functions are listed in Table 5. The Status column indicates whether the file (and its content) is considered Normative, Informative, or Provisional.

Table 5. Files in the UCD

File NameReferenceStatusDescription
CJKRadicals.txt[UAX38]IList of Unified CJK Ideographs and CJK Radicals that correspond to specific radical numbers used in the CJK radical stroke counts.
USourceData.txt[UAX45]NThe list of formal references for UTC-Source ideographs, together with data regarding their status and sources.
USourceGlyphs.pdf[UAX45]IA table containing a representative glyph for each UTC-Source ideograph.
TangutSources.txtChapter 18NSpecifies normative source mappings for Tangut ideographs and components. This data file also includes informative radical-stroke values that are used in the preparation of the code charts for the Tangut blocks.
kTGT_MergedSrc: normative source mapping to various Tangut source references
kRSTUnicode: informative radical-stroke value
NushuSources.txtChapter 18NSpecifies normative source mappings for Nushu ideographs. This data file also includes informative readings for Nushu characters.
kSrc_NushuDuben: normative source mapping to the Nushu Duben
kReading: informative example phonetic reading
EmojiSources.txtChapter 22NSpecifies source mappings to SJIS values for emoji symbols in the original implementations of these symbols by Japanese telecommunications companies.
Index.txtChapter 24IIndex to Unicode characters.
NamesList.txtChapter 24INames list used for production of the code charts, derived from UnicodeData.txt. It contains additional annotations.
NamesList.htmlChapter 24IDocuments the format of NamesList.txt.
StandardizedVariants.txtChapter 23NLists all the standardized variant sequences that have been defined, plus a textual description of their desired appearance.
StandardizedVariants.htmlChapter 23NAn obsolete derived documentation file.
NamedSequences.txt[UAX34]NLists the names for all approved named sequences.
NamedSequencesProv.txt[UAX34]PLists the names for all provisional named sequences.

For more information about these files and their use, see the referenced annexes or chapters of Unicode Standard.

4.4 Zipped Files

Starting with Version 4.1.0, zipped versions of all of the UCD files, both data files and documentation files, are available under the Public/zipped directory on the Unicode website. Each collection of zipped files is located there in a numbered subdirectory corresponding to that version of the UCD.

Two different zipped files are provided for each version:

  • Unihan.zip is the zipped version of the very large Unihan data files
  • UCD.zip is the zipped version of all of the rest of the UCD data files, excluding the Unihan data files.

This bifurcation allows for better management of downloading version-specific information, because Unihan.zip contains all the pertinent CJK-related property information, while UCD.zip contains all of the rest of the UCD property information, for those who may not need the voluminous CJK data.

Starting with Version 6.1.0 the main versioned directories for the UCD also contain a copy of UCD.zip, for convenience in access.

In versions of the UCD prior to Version 4.1.0, zipped copies of the Unihan data files (which for those versions were released as a single large text file, Unihan.txt) are provided in the same directory as the UCD data files. These zipped files are only posted for versions of the UCD in which Unihan.txt was updated.

4.5 UCD in XML

Starting with Version 5.1.0, a set of XML data files are also released with each version of the UCD. Those data files make it possible to import and process the UCD property data using standard XML parsing tools, instead of the specialized parsing required for the various individual data files of the UCD.

4.5.1 UAX #42

Unicode Standard Annex #42, "Unicode Character Database in XML" [UAX42] defines an XML schema which is used to incorporate all of the Unicode character property information into the XML version of the UCD. See that annex for details of the schema and conventions regarding the grouping of property values for more compact representations.

4.5.2 XML File List

The XML version of the UCD is contained in the ucdxml subdirectory of the UCD. The files are all zipped. The list of files is shown in Table 6.

Table 6. XML File List

File NameCJKnon-CJK
ucd.nounihan.flat.zip x
ucd.nounihan.grouped.zip x

The "flat" file versions simply list all attributes with no particular compression. The "grouped" file versions apply the grouping mechanism described in [UAX42] to cut down on the size of the data files.

5 Properties

This section documents the Unicode character properties, relating them in detail to the particular UCD data files in which they are specified. For enumerated properties in particular, this section also documents the actual values which those properties can have.

5.1 Property Index

Table 7 provides a summary list of the Unicode character properties, excluding most of those specific to the Unihan data files. For a comparable index of CJK character properties, see Unicode Standard Annex #38, "Unicode Han Database (Unihan)" [UAX38].

The properties are roughly organized into groups based on their usage. This grouping is primarily for documentation convenience and except for contributory properties, has no normative implications. Contributory properties are shown in this index with a gray background, to better distinguish them visually from ordinary (simple or derived) properties. Deprecated properties and other properties not recommended for support in public property APIs are also shown with a gray background. The link on each property leads to its description in Table 9, Property Table. Any property marked as deprecated in this index is also automatically considered obsolete.

Table 7. Property Index by Scope of Use


5.2 About the Property Table

Table 9, Property Table specifies the list of character properties defined in the UCD. That table is divided into separate sections for each data file in the UCD. Data files which define a single property or a small number of properties are listed first, followed by the data files which define a large number of properties: DerivedCoreProperties.txt, DerivedNormalizationProps.txt, PropList.txt, and UnicodeData.txt. In some instances for these files defining many properties, the entries in the property table are grouped by type, for clarity in presentation, rather than being listed alphabetically.

In Table 9, Property Table each property is described as follows:

First Column. This column contains the name of each of the character properties specified in the respective data file. Any special status for a property, such as whether it is obsolete, deprecated, or stabilized, is also indicated in the first column.

Second Column. This column indicates the type of the property, according to the key in Table 8.

Table 8. Property Type Key

Property TypeSymbolExamples
CatalogCAge, Block
EnumerationEJoining_Type, Line_Break
BinaryBUppercase, White_Space
StringSUppercase_Mapping, Case_Folding
MiscellaneousMName, Jamo_Short_Name
  • Catalog properties have enumerated values which are expected to be regularly extended in successive versions of the Unicode Standard. This distinguishes them from Enumeration properties.
  • Enumeration properties have enumerated values which constitute a logical partition space; new values will generally not be added to them in successive versions of the standard.
  • Binary properties are a special case of Enumeration properties, which have exactly two values: Yes and No (or True and False).
  • String properties are typically mappings from a Unicode code point to another Unicode code point or sequence of Unicode code points; examples include case mappings and decomposition mappings.
  • Numeric properties specify the actual numeric values for digits and other characters associated with numbers in some way.
  • Miscellaneous properties are those properties that do not fit neatly into the other property categories; they currently include character names, comments about characters, the Script_Extensions property, and the Unicode_Radical_Stroke property (a combination of numeric values) documented in Unicode Standard Annex #38, "Unicode Han Database (Unihan)" [UAX38].

Third Column. This column indicates the status of the property: Normative or Informative or Contributory or Provisional.

Fourth Column. This column provides a description of the property or properties. This includes information on derivation for derived properties, as well as references to locations in the standard where the property is defined or discussed in detail.

In the section of the table for UnicodeData.txt, the data field numbers are also supplied in parentheses at the start of the description.

For a few entries in the property table, values specified in the fields in a data file only contribute to a full definition of a Unicode character property. For example, the values in field 1 (Name) in UnicodeData.txt do not provide all the values for the Name property for all code points; Jamo.txt must also be used, and the Name property for CJK unified ideographs, Tangut ideographs, and Nushu ideographs is derived by rule.

None of the Unicode character properties should be used simply on the basis of the descriptions in the property table without consulting the relevant discussions in the Unicode Standard. Because of the enormous variety of characters in the repertoire of the Unicode Standard, character properties tend not to be self-evident in application, even when the names of the properties may seem familiar from their usage with much smaller legacy character encodings.

5.3 Property Definitions

This section contains the table which describes each character property and defines its status, organized by data file in the UCD. Table 9 provides general descriptions of the Unicode character properties, their derivations, and/or their usage, as well as pointers to the respective parts of the standard where formal property definitions or additional information about the properties can be found. The property status column and any formal statement of the derivation of derived properties are definitive; however, Table 9 does not provide formal definitions of the other properties and should not be interpreted as such. For details on the columns and overall organization of the table, see Section 5.2 About the Property Table.

Table 9. Property Table

ENBasic Arabic and Syriac character shaping properties, such as initial, medial and final shapes. See Section 9.2, Arabic in [Unicode].
Bidi_Paired_Bracket_TypeENType of a paired bracket, either opening or closing. This property is used in the implementation of parenthesis matching. See Unicode Standard Annex #9, "Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm" [UAX9].
Bidi_Paired_BracketMNFor an opening bracket, the code point of the matching closing bracket. For a closing bracket, the code point of the matching opening bracket. This property is used in the implementation of parenthesis matching. See Unicode Standard Annex #9, "Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm" [UAX9].
Bidi_Mirroring_GlyphMIInformative mapping for substituting characters in an implementation of bidirectional mirroring. This maps a subset of characters with the Bidi_Mirrored property to other characters that normally are displayed with the corresponding mirrored glyph. When a character with the Bidi_Mirrored property has the default value for Bidi_Mirroring_Glyph, that means that no other character exists whose glyph is appropriate for character-based glyph mirroring. Implementations must then use other mechanisms to implement mirroring of those characters for the Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm. See Unicode Standard Annex #9, "Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm" [UAX9]. Do not confuse this property with the Bidi_Mirrored property itself.
BlockCNBlocks.txt specifies the Block property, which consists of the list of block names for ranges of code points. See D10b in Section 3.4, Characters and Encoding, of [Unicode]. See also the code charts in [Unicode].
Composition_ExclusionBN A property used in normalization. See Unicode Standard Annex #15, "Unicode Normalization Forms" [UAX15]. Unlike other files, CompositionExclusions.txt simply lists the relevant code points.
SNMapping from characters to their case-folded forms. This is an informative file containing normative derived properties.

Derived from UnicodeData and SpecialCasing.

Note: The case foldings are omitted in the data file if they are the same as the code point itself.

AgeCNA property defining when various code points were designated/assigned in successive versions of the Unicode Standard. For a detailed discussion of the Age property, see Section 5.14, Character Age.
East_Asian_WidthEIA property for determining the choice of wide versus narrow glyphs in East Asian contexts. Property values are described in Unicode Standard Annex #11, "East Asian Width" [UAX11].
Hangul_Syllable_TypeENThe values L, V, T, LV, and LVT used in Chapter 3, Conformance in [Unicode].
Indic_Positional_CategoryEIA property informally defining the positional categories for dependent vowels, viramas, combining marks, and other characters used in Indic scripts. General descriptions of the property values are provided in the header section of the data file IndicPositionalCategory.txt.
Indic_Syllabic_CategoryEIA property informally defining the structural categories of syllabic components in Indic scripts. General descriptions of the property values are provided in the header section of the data file IndicSyllabicCategory.txt.
Jamo_Short_NameMCThe Hangul Syllable names are derived from the Jamo Short Names, as described in Chapter 3, Conformance in [Unicode].
Line_BreakENA property for line breaking. For more information, see Unicode Standard Annex #14, "Unicode Line Breaking Algorithm" [UAX14].
Grapheme_Cluster_BreakEISee Unicode Standard Annex #29, "Unicode Text Segmentation" [UAX29]
Sentence_BreakEISee Unicode Standard Annex #29, "Unicode Text Segmentation" [UAX29]
Word_BreakEISee Unicode Standard Annex #29, "Unicode Text Segmentation" [UAX29]
Name_AliasMNNormative formal aliases for characters with erroneous names, for control characters and some format characters, and for character abbreviations, as described in Chapter 4, Character Properties in [Unicode]. Aliases tagged with the type "correction", as well as a selection of aliases of other types, are published in the Unicode Standard code charts.


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