Unicode Variation Selectors 15 and 16🆕️

I’m a fan of non-ASCII characters and I think that one of the reasons I love mathematics is that I love symbols. So anyway, I use a lot of non-ASCII characters, especially emoji,[1] in my writing and in the process of trying to control their appearance in web browsers, I’ve learned about Unicode Variation Selectors 15 and 16, which are also known as VS15 and VS16.

The following table describes these selectors and gives some examples. Note that the non-ASCII characters in the table appear differently in different browsers.

Name

VARIATION SELECTOR-15
(VS15)

VARIATION SELECTOR-16
(VS16)

no variation selector

HTML entity (hex)

︎

️

HTML entity (decimal)

︎

️

Meaning

if available, use
black & white style

if available, use
emoji style

browser chooses

Example 1
unrendered
rendered

🔣︎
🔣︎

🔣️
🔣️

🔣
🔣

Example 2
unrendered
rendered

✔︎
✔︎

✔️
✔️

✔

Example 3
unrendered
rendered

🆕︎
🆕︎

🆕️
🆕️

🆕
🆕

Example 4
unrendered
rendered

⁉︎
⁉︎

⁉️
⁉️

⁉

Example 5
unrendered
rendered

‽︎
‽︎

‽️
‽️

‽

Example 6
unrendered
rendered

❤︎
❤︎

❤️
❤️

❤

 

HTML entities are case insensitive so you can also use ︎ and ️ for VS15 and VS16. In my web writing, I prefer to specify these selectors in all upper case because then they stand out a bit and are easier to see when I’m editing a document.

To learn more about variation selectors, see:

 

As you can see in the footer below, I tried to tag this article with tags that include the :symbols:[2] character from Example 1 above. If you hover over[3] or click on these tag links either below or on the Infinite Ink Tags page, you will see that Hugo, which generates most of the Infinite Ink site, does not fully support these tags.


1. The plural of “emoji” is either “emoji” or “emojis.” To learn more about these words, see merriam-webster.com and emojipedia.org.
2. :symbols: is the emoji shortcode for 🔣.
3. In some browsers, if you hover your mouse pointer over a link, the link’s URL will be displayed.