Character Map (Windows)

Character Map
A component of Microsoft Windows
Included with Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows 10

Character Map is a utility included with Microsoft Windows operating systems and is used to view the characters in any installed font, to check what keyboard input (Alt code) is used to enter those characters, and to copy characters to the clipboard in lieu of typing them.[1] The tool is usually useful for entering special characters.[1] It can be opened via the command line or Run Command dialog using the 'charmap' command.

Other operating systems such as some Unix-Linux variants with GUIs, the HP-48 series graphing calculators and others also have a similar accessory.[2]

The Advanced view check box can be used to inspect the character sets in a font according to different encodings (code pages), including Unicode code ranges, to locate particular characters by their Unicode code point and to search for characters by their Unicode name. For Unicode fonts, the characters can be grouped by their Unicode subrange. Although the Unicode standard already extends character field to plane 16 and many fonts e.g. MingLiU-ExtB begin to support higher ranges, this tool still only supports code points on plane 0 (between U+0000 and U+FFFF). Additionally, it does not display certain characters in that range for reasons unexplained.

On Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, the utility is in All Programs → Accessories → System Tools → Character Map in the Start Menu. On Windows 10, the utility is in the Windows Accessories folder in the Start Menu. Beginning with Windows Vista, the user can also type the name of the utility in the Start Menu search box/Cortana.[3]

The Windows NT series of operating systems from Workstation and Server 4.0 build 1381 and the Windows 95-MS-Dos series from Windows 95 onwards also contain the character map, as do versions of Windows CE using a GUI based on these systems' explorer.exe, introduced with Windows 95. Another version of the character map is found in the Progman.exe-based Windows 3.11 and Windows NT 3.51.[4] The OS/2 analogue of the character map called the Characters Map is available from third parties for systems from OS/2 Warp 3 onwards to current eComStation versions.[5] There is also a MacIntosh version.

Character Map was ported to the Windows Store in June 2016 and is available in Windows 10 build 14372 or later. As such, it can now be updated without updates to the core Windows operating system. It is currently assigned build number and it looks identical to the original version, but it has a slightly different tile on the Start menu and may receive further updates in the future. If this version is decoupled from the registry, it will provide faster Windows startup times and better resist system degradation.

See also


  1. 1 2 Microsoft. "Using special characters (Character Map): frequently asked questions". Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  2. Graphing Calculator
  3. Bott, Ed; Siechert, Carl; Stinson, Craig (2007). "Searching from the Start Menu". Windows Vista Inside Out. Microsoft Press. pp. 264–266. ISBN 0735622701.

External links

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