What is Unicode and Why You Should Care

Learn why you can’t read certain texts on your computer and how to prevent this from happening. 

At the beginning of computers, compatibility was practically non-existent between platforms. For example if you created a file with a Mac, you couldn’t read it on a PC and vice versa. One of the issues was that the code used to read and display the characters on the text was different, using different references and thus either displaying it differently, or just not displaying it at all.

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So programmers decided to have a “unified-coding” system which would allow anyone following pre-defined rules to create their own fonts which would be displayed correctly across software and operating systems. Unicode was born.

While some fonts are Unicode across a very large variety of characters (Arial Unicode MS, and Helvetica for example), many are only Unicode for certain ranges of characters: For example a font Unicode for Latin characters may not necessarily be Unicode for Arabic characters. So choosing the right font for the right languages is very important.

Using Unicode fonts in business critical because this allows data to be retrievable with a simple keyword search in a database or document management system for example, it also allows to transfer documents to other applications without corrupting (changing) its content.

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