Some technical information about Unicode on the web

The encoding for the pages on this site is UTF-8, which is able to display Unicode characters without any modification, and is supported by all modern browsers and operating systems.


This site began as an exercise in representing some original text of the Greek astronomer Aristarchus on the web.  The font utilities came about as a means of generating Unicode text.  Alternate methods are to use HTML codes such as α (decimal) or α (hexadecimal), which represent α (alpha), or the JavaScript code format \u03B1.  If you would like to try your hand at it, some relevant JavaScript methods are charCodeAt(index), which returns the numeric value of a character; and fromCharCode(num1, ..., numN), which turns numbers into characters.

Unicode font utilities

The Polytonic Greek Virtual Keyboard
Allows you to type Unicode Greek characters via the keyboard.  Also converts text to either HTML or JavaScript code characters.

2020 update:  should work in any up-to-date desktop browser.  Interface is improved as well.

The Unicode Range Viewer
Displays 16×16 blocks of Unicode characters, with both hex and decimal codes.  You choose the Unicode range and the font, bold or italic.  It is useful for finding characters and exploring the ranges and apperance of different fonts.  It also works as a universal virtual keyboard; go to any code page and click a character to create text, then convert it to HTML or JavaScript code if desired.  (After I made it I realized that it bears an eerie resemblance to BabelMap by Andrew West.)  Thanks to Ed Swartz who first sent me the JavaScript code which displays supplemental plane characters (above 0xFFFF) as surrogate pairs.

2020 updates:  you can now find a code block by entering a Unicode character, or selecting a block from the list.  If you choose a font, only the characters in that font are displayed.

The Surrogate Pair Calculator etc.
Calculates the surrogate pairs for high-bit supplemental plane values, the scalar value for a surrogate pair, or (new in 2020) both for a supplemental plane character.  Also includes the algorithms and sample code for converting to and from surrogate pairs.

The Greek Number Converter
Converts numbers to the alphabetic Greek format.  The only converter of its type that I know of.

2020 bug fix:  the upper and lower numeral signs are now consistent.  (all the above, 33.2 kB)

Font software

Here are links to some font software if you decide to pursue fontmaking yourself.

A “starter” program is Softy by Dave Emmett.  But you may quickly outgrow it.

The program I originally used to make the glyphs in Aristarcoj was TypeTool from FontLab.

To create the font file itself, I used Font Creator by High Logic.  I now use it for the entire fontmaking process as the editing has beome more advanced in later versions.