This Unicode character picker allows you to produce or analyse runs of Tamil text using the Tamil script. Character pickers are especially useful for people who don't know a script well, as characters are displayed in ways that aid identification.
To properly display the text you will need to choose a font that is loaded on your system or device, or use the web font downloaded with the page (Noto Sans Tamil). The font list indicates which fonts are standard for Mac (Snow Leopard/Lion) and Windows7/8, as well as which are the web fonts. Note that the web fonts aren't guarranteed to work on every system/device, because the font often relies on rendering algorithms provided by the operating system. See more information about standard OS fonts in Mac and Windows.
You can also add codepoints and escapes via the "Add codepoint" field (hit return to add to the output field). You can also paste text into the output field to get information about it. Use the yellow boxes to set preferences or search. Regular expressions are allowed when searching – for example, to find characters with the word KA in their name, enter \bka\b, or the short form :ka:.
When working on an iPad or similar device, you should turn off more controls/Autofocus. This prevents the keyboard popping up after you input every character. You may also need to select a character twice to add it to the output field.
About the chart
Includes characters in the Unicode 7.0 Tamil block.
All text is output in Unicode normalisation form NFC by default. You can change to NFD or no normalisation by clicking on the buttons in the yellow area. Note that normalization only takes place when you click on a character - text pasted into the box won't be normalised until you click on another character above, or click on a button in the yellow area. (Note: normalization is turned off for Han characters in this application.)
The following alternative views are available by clicking on the vertical grey bar to the left of the selection area.
Default Clicking on this turns off the other features described in this section. The default table is likely to be most useful to people who are somewhat familiar with the alphabet and characters of Tamil.
Characters have been arranged so that is easy to input them, and especially to ensure that multiple combining characters are input in the right normalised order. Numbers and numeric symbols are to the far right.
Open the expanding link for obsoleted and less often used characters.
Hints This changes the behaviour of the table view so that, when you mouse over a character, characters that are similar in appearance, and may be easily confused, are automatically highlighted. This can be particularly useful for people who are not familiar with the script, to avoid confusing similar characters, or to find the right character when two or more look similar.
Shape lookup This adds a row of orange pictures that represent basic shapes associated with the Tamil characters. When you click on a picture, characters that incorporate that shape are highlighted. This is particularly helpful for those who don't know the script at all and want to pick characters based on their shape, or for those times when you just can't find the character you want and need a hint.
The orange shapes typically indicate the left-most or top-most part of a character shape; characters and combinations that start with that shape are highlighted together.
Transcriptions There are two transcription panels available in this picker:
The Latin panel provides additional characters you may need while typing in a Latin transcription from the keyboard.
The ISO-15919 panel allows you to generate some Tamil text from an ISO-15919 transcription.
There are two buttons that allow you to convert from Tamil text to a Latin transcription and vice versa. If you highlight part of the text, only that part will be transcribed. The result appears in a separate area below the main output area.
The toISO button produces an ISO-15919 transliteration, that basically latinizes the Tamil characters. The result doesn't normally tell you exactly how to pronounce the Tamil text, but each Tamil character is represented by a unique sequence in Latin, with a few exceptions. This transcription should produce fully conformant output.
The fromISO button produces Tamil text from an ISO-15919 transcription.
Notes on other controls
Controls at the bottom of the page allow you to modify fonts used, the font size, and the height of the output box.
Searching by character name or codepoint. If you are searching for a particular character and know (at least part of) the name or the codepoint, type that in the search box and hit return. All characters with matching text in the name or codepoint number will be highlighted. The highlighting is only removed when you click on the X next to the search input field. You can also use regular expression syntax to improve your search results. For example, to find the letter 'ha', but not 'gha' etc, you can use \bha\b (or the shortcut, :ha:).