unicode(1) command line unicode database query tool


unicode [options] string


This manual page documents the unicode command.

unicode is a command line unicode database query tool.



Show help and exit.


Assume string to be a hexadecimal number


Assume string to be a decimal number


Assume string to be an octal number


Assume string to be a binary number


Assume string to be a regular expression


Assume string to be a sequence of characters


Try to guess type of string from one of the above (default)


Maximal number of codepoints to display, default: 20; use 0 for unlimited


I/O character set. For maximal pleasure, run unicode on UTF-8 capable terminal and specify IOCHARSET to be UTF-8. unicode tries to guess this value from your locale, so with properly set up locale, you should not need to specify it.


Convert numerical arguments from this encoding, default: no conversion. Multibyte encodings are supported. This is ignored for non-numerical arguments.


Show hexadecimal reprezentation of displayed characters in this additional charset.


USE_COLOUR is one of on off auto

--colour=on will use ANSI colour codes to colourise the output

--colour=off won't use colours.

--colour=auto will test if standard output is a tty, and use colours only when it is.

--color is a synonym of --colour


Be more verbose about displayed characters, e.g. display Unihan information, if available.


Spawn browser pointing to English Wikipedia entry about the character.


Spawn browser pointing to English Wiktionary entry about the character.


Display character information in brief format


Use your own format for character information display. See the README for details.


List (approximately) all known encodings.


unicode tries to guess the type of an argument. In particular, if the arguments looks like a valid hexadecimal representation of a Unicode codepoint, it will be considered to be such. Using

unicode face

will display information about U+FACE CJK COMPATIBILITY IDEOGRAPH-FACE, and it will not search for 'face' in character descriptions - for the latter, use:

unicode -r face

For example, you can use any of the following to display information about U+00E1 LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH ACUTE (á):

unicode 00E1

unicode U+00E1

unicode á

unicode 'latin small letter a with acute'

You can specify a range of characters as argumets, unicode will show these characters in nice tabular format, aligned to 256-byte boundaries. Use two dots ".." to indicate the range, e.g.

unicode 0450..0520

will display the whole cyrillic and hebrew blocks (characters from U+0400 to U+05FF)

unicode 0400..

will display just characters from U+0400 up to U+04FF

Use --fromcp to query codepoints from other encodings:

unicode --fromcp cp1250 -d 200

Multibyte encodings are supported: unicode --fromcp big5 -x aff3

and multi-char strings are supported, too:

unicode --fromcp utf-8 -x c599c3adc5a5


Tabular format does not deal well with full-width, combining, control and RTL characters.


Radovan Garabík <garabik @ kassiopeia.juls.savba.sk>