Specials (Unicode block)

Specials
RangeU+FFF0..U+FFFF
(16 code points)
PlaneBMP
ScriptsCommon
Assigned5 code points
Unused9 reserved code points
2 non-characters
Unicode version history
1.0.0 (1991)1 (+1)
2.1 (1998)2 (+1)
3.0 (1999)5 (+3)
Note: [1][2]

Specials is a short Unicode block allocated at the very end of the Basic Multilingual Plane, at U+FFF0–FFFF. Of these 16 code points, five have been assigned since Unicode 3.0:

  • U+FFF9 INTERLINEAR ANNOTATION ANCHOR, marks start of annotated text
  • U+FFFA INTERLINEAR ANNOTATION SEPARATOR, marks start of annotating character(s)
  • U+FFFB INTERLINEAR ANNOTATION TERMINATOR, marks end of annotation block
  • U+FFFC OBJECT REPLACEMENT CHARACTER, placeholder in the text for another unspecified object, for example in a compound document.
  • U+FFFD REPLACEMENT CHARACTER used to replace an unknown, unrecognized, or unrepresentable character
  • U+FFFE <noncharacter-FFFE> not a character.
  • U+FFFF <noncharacter-FFFF> not a character.

FFFE and FFFF are not unassigned in the usual sense, but guaranteed not to be Unicode characters at all. They can be used to guess a text's encoding scheme, since any text containing these is by definition not a correctly encoded Unicode text. Unicode's U+FEFF BYTE ORDER MARK character can be inserted at the beginning of a Unicode text to signal its endianness: a program reading such a text and encountering 0xFFFE would then know that it should switch the byte order for all the following characters.

Its block name in Unicode 1.0 was Special.[3]

  1. ^ "Unicode character database". The Unicode Standard. Retrieved 2016-07-09.
  2. ^ "Enumerated Versions of The Unicode Standard". The Unicode Standard. Retrieved 2016-07-09.
  3. ^ "3.8: Block-by-Block Charts" (PDF). The Unicode Standard. version 1.0. Unicode Consortium.

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