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Archive for August, 2014

If you are a Windows 8 or Windows Phone developer you probably already know the importance of the Segoe UI Symbol font and how it provides a wealth of great “metro” icons that can be used in appbar buttons. If so, then you are also probably aware that finding the right character/glyph can be a laborious task.

There are a number of helpful, but incomplete lists on the web, and of course there is the dated ancient character map tool that comes installed with Windows but all have serious shortcomings.

After wasting a fair number of hours myself trying to hunt for glyphs, we at Vertigo set out to build the ultimate character map tool with developers in mind.

screenshot1

Download Character Map for free from the Windows Store

 

Easy to browse: scroll through the list of available glyphs in any font installed on your system. The icons are large enough to easily see so you won’t ruin your eye sight trying to find one 😉

All glyphs are accounted for: the app queries the OS (DirectWrite actually) to find the unabridged list of glyphs for the given font. You might be surprised to see what you’ve been missing.

Filter by Unicode range: Want to exclude certain Unicode ranges to reduce the number of glyphs for a given font? We’ve got that too.

Dark and light theme: You can tap on the large glyph on the right to toggle foreground and background colors – or – you can go to the settings charm to change the theme of the entire app from dark to light.

Get the enumerated named: Some of the Segoe UI Symbol fonts have names. This is the preferred way to reference the icon in code and also helps give you an indication of the intended meaning for that glyph.

Get the Unicode name: sometimes glyphs have a defined meaning and name in Unicode that can be useful to know.

Get hex, decimal, and markup. Markup is especially useful for referencing the glyph in code, Xaml, or HTML when an enumerated name does not exist.

Search: Type in what you’re after into any of the fields on the right to find the glyph you’re looking for. For example: search by enumerated name by just typing into the “Enum” text box.

Save as transparent image: Save the given glyph as a transparent png of any size. Remember, you can simply tap the icon to reverse the colors before saving if you needed.

Copy to clipboard: No character map tool would be complete without the ability to easily copy the selected character to the clipboard.

 

Complete source code is also available

Since both this post and the app were written with developers in mind and because we developers tend to be a curious bunch, I’m guessing a few of you might also be interested in how this app was built. Therefore, we decided to fully open source Character Map to offer a way to see what’s under the hood or even contribute if you come up with a must-have feature.

 

Happy icon hunting and I hope you enjoy! Please rate the app in the store if you like it and please post suggestions, bugs and requests in the discussion forum on CodePlex to make them easy to track.

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