(Return to web page)

Post Comments

Comment Guidelines

All comments are moderated. The goal is not simply to eliminate obnoxious stuff, but to only allow useful on-topic discussions -- it's not a place to hang out. Moderation time is expected to be a day or two in most cases, but I do take vacations.

Your comments will be read by me, but they may not be posted. In particular, saying thanks or "you rock" or whatever is certainly appreciated, but I won't add it to the public comments unless there's useful information there for others. Comments that say "you suck" are much more likely to be posted, as long as a reason is given that's somewhat productive. Posting a comment is not a promise to keep it here forever, I may remove any or all comments at any time.

I may edit postings for simple and obvious errors, and I may remove profanity. Only listed HTML terms are allowed in messages. Name and email address will be fully stripped or quoted to prevent HTML tag usage and other possible abuses.

You can provide either a public or a private email address, or none at all. Private addresses are good if you want a personal response from me. I do not provide any automatic notification of new comments.

There is no re-editing after posting, however you can simply post again, and hopefully I'll notice this in moderating, and will post the latest version. If your post is already up, just add another post with any corrections, and in most cases I'll pub up both posts, rather than hand- correcting the original.

Optional Name:
Optional Public Email: (WILL be on web page, although hidden*)
Optional Private Email: (will NOT be displayed, just for me to answer you if I want to)
Remember Me on this browser (uses cookie)
Carriage Returns are:
Allowed tags: <P> <BR> <PRE> <I> <B> <A>.

Prove that you are human by entering here:

*Email addresses are scrambled and encoded in a non-mailto URL. People with javascript see a normal working email link, but robots (and people) without javascript see a URL with gibberish in it. This link is a sample with working javascript (clicking should bring up a mailer), and this link is appoximately how it looks without javascript (click to see how your address will look to people without javascript). If you view the source, you'll see they're all gibberish.


At 2010/01/16 19:14
Sean wrote:

Just out of curiosity, where have you seen ⎋ considered a Power Button symbol? I've only ever seen it used to mean "escape". Every use of a power button symbol I've ever seen, in particular every use by Apple, has been of the IEC power/standby symbol you mention, which as you know has a vertical stroke, not a northwest arrow.

At 2010/01/16 22:11

Under Leopard, that character appears in the Apple Menu, as part of the shortcut for Force Quit.

Also, the same character is used in System Preferences, Keyboard Shortcuts.


At 2010/02/07 14:31
Alexsander Akers wrote:

If this (http://drp.ly/mhP7U) is the menu item you are referring to, it is indeed the Escape button. Try the shortcut but with the power button, and it does nothing?

At 2010/02/08 9:33

Whoops, I guess I got that one wrong. I'll make some changes to the web page to fix it up.

I wonder why they didn't use Unicode character 241B (␛)?


At 2010/02/23 5:25
Leo Davidson wrote:

For what it's worth, here's what the symbols look like in IE and Firefox on a Windows 7 machine. I think both browsers are using their default font configuration (but maybe I changed Firefox and can't remember :)).


The Broken Circle with Northwest Arrow is the most strange. In Firefox it turns into an *un*broken circle with a diagonal line (not an arrow) through it.

I totally agree with your peeve section. Unicode has so much esoteric cruft in it that squandared the code points, yet is missing several things which would be widely useful. It's not just the silly pictures (like the palm tree on a beach glyph) but things like dead languages which are only used by a handful of scholars. I imagine the 10 people who care about mixing Ancient Aramaic with other languages could get by using a special font and the private character ranges.

As a programmer, it really annoys me because UTF-16 ran out of its 65,000 characters and now has some characters which are double-width (i.e. 32-bit), which leads to all kinds of bugs and security exploits due to code which doesn't handle such characters properly, either because the author didn't know or because they tried but it's ridiculously complex to deal with character strings where the characters use a varying number of bytes, and even more so when it's a very abnormal (i.e. rarely tested) case (unlike UTF-8). Sigh!

At 2010/02/23 5:36
Leo Davidson wrote:

Oops, I said "Ancient Aramaic" in my previous post. That is still of interest to a lot of people!

I meant Meroitic:


Existed for about 100 years and is currently spoken by zero people, yet it's taking up space in Unicode that is too valuable for music-playback symbols (etc.) which would only be useful to a few million people. :)

(BTW, the posting form seemed to strip out the close-anchor tag if it used a lowercase 'a'. Using an uppercase 'A' made it work.)

At 2010/03/16 11:33
Uli Kusterer wrote:


just thought I'd mention that the "command key symbol" is actually not Mac-specific either. It's the Swedish "place of interest sign" symbol. And that's actually where Apple got the idea for this image from. If you look at this symbol in the Mac's character palette, it will actually be called the "place of interest sign", as well.

At 2010/12/27 15:31
lenin wrote:

Power btn: ⌽

Option btn: ⎇

Enter/Return: ⏎

Tab: ⌦

Backspace: ⌫

Control: ⌃

At 2010/12/28 14:16

Thanks. The option symbol you provided is actually upside down from the one that Apple uses, which I provided in the original article. And what you show as a tab is a forward delete. Does Apple use this as a tab symbol somewhere? At any rate, I've made a few changes based on your email. And you prompted me to notice that Unicode 6.0 is out with new stuff.



At 2011/02/14 11:49
Kaleb David McKale wrote:

⌦ is achieved by "fn ⌫" ☺

It's also interesting that Apple uses
↖ for Home
↘ for End
⇞ for Page Up
⇟ for Page Down
⌤ for Enter (even though its use is not consistent app to app)

I agree it's very annoying to not have a character for the power button. ☹

At 2011/04/29 7:15
Shane wrote:

When I first saw ⎋ in a Mac menu as part of a keyboard shortcut, I immediately thought it meant the power button. I figured out later that this was not the case.

Glad to see someone else was just as confused as I was about this :)

At 2011/05/09 19:33
Hamranhansenhansen wrote:

The symbol that Apple uses for the power button is on the power button of any Mac for at least the last decade.

I would guess the reason that Apple uses "BROKEN CIRCLE WITH NORTHWEST ARROW" instead of [ESC] is internationalization. Or to prevent people reading it as E+S+C. Or maybe just because key shortcuts are always shown with symbols.

For the shift key, you might want to use "UPWARDS WHITE ARROW" and for caps lock, the matching "UPWARDS WHITE ARROW FROM BAR." That is what Apple appears to be using in the Mac OS menus also.

At 2011/05/09 19:41

Yes, that power/standby symbol is standard across many vendors. Except it is not in Unicode.

The caps lock would be unicode U+21EA, &#x21EA; &#8682; ⇪

At 2011/11/02 0:42

"but no flipping the bird that I could find"



from https://gist.github.com/157796

At 2011/11/02 10:57

Not what I meant, but cute.

At 2011/11/07 21:00

Re Meroitic language. There is another script of which there is only one surviving artefact. It almost certainly does not contain the complete alphabet yet the letters have been included in Unicode! How useless is that? It seems that the Unicode people say "Oh my God! Some random letters from an unknown language! We must include them straight away because Unicode is for cataloguing every language that ever existed!" I'd love to see extremely widely used, unambiguous symbols such as "play" and "pause" in Unicode.

At 2011/11/11 16:00
Andrs Sanhueza wrote:

There's an ongoing Unicode proposal to encode Wingdings and Webdings characters, which includes the "pause" symbol. http://www.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n4115.pdf The "Audio UI" symbols have been accepted, among other things. http://www.unicode.org/alloc/Pipeline.html

Naturally, the Windows logo was the only symbol excluded from the proposal.

At 2011/11/12 11:04

That's excellent news - I hope the proposal is accepted. Thanks.

At 2011/11/16 10:07
ChristTrekker wrote:

I've heard talk about a proposal to encode the symbols found in Apple's old Cairo font, to mirror the proposal to encode the *dings fonts.


At 2011/11/16 11:50

Yeah, but still no relief on any of the power symbols. I'm going to solve this problem myself. Until there are IEC power symbols in Unicode, I'm going to recommend that font designers standardize five of the unicode characters from the private use area (which has thousands of slots available).

  • IEC 5007 Power-on symbol, use unicode ec17
  • IEC 5008 Power-off symbol, use unicode ec18
  • IEC 5009 Standby symbol, use unicode ec19
  • IEC 5010 Hard Power on/off symbol, use unicode ec1a
  • IEEE 1621 Sleep symbol, use unicode ec1b

    Is this the wrong way to do a standard? Yes. But there's nothing wrong with font designers using these slots. It's a private use area - they can use them for anything they like. If it just so happens that lots of font designers all put these glyphs in these slots, how can that be wrong?

  • At 2011/12/12 10:55
    Andrs Sanhueza wrote:

    Although is not really a proposal, Karl Pentzlin submitted a document as reference for others with Apple symbols that has not equivalent in Unicode: ftp://std.dkuug.dk/JTC1/sc2/WG2/docs/n4127.pdf

    At 2017/08/03 21:01
    DeusExMachina wrote:

    For the (pedantic) record, Meroitic existed as a written and spoken language for over a thousand years.

    End Comments

    Return to web page.