Updated 05-Aug-2017 • tags apps, pickers, tibetan

This Unicode character picker allows you to produce or analyse runs of Tibetan text. Character pickers are especially useful for people who don't know a script well, as characters are displayed in ways that aid identification.

If something is broken or missing raise an issue. For version information see the Github commit list.

Basic use

To produce characters in the text area, click on character shapes, or use your keyboard for Latin characters, delete, etc. Then cut & paste the result to your document, or use the controls to get further information about the characters. You must have JavaScript enabled.

Sample text If you want to add some sample text to the text area, click on the plus sign icon.

Fonts 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 (Tibetan Machine Uni). The font list indicates which fonts are standard for Mac (Snow Leopard/Lion) and Windows7. See more information about standard OS fonts in Mac and Windows.

Mobile devices When working on an iPad or similar device, you should turn off Autofocus (just below the text area). 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 Tibetan 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.

Interactive help

Select the thing you want help with:

Help selector.

Text area

This is where you see characters appearing as you select them from the panels lower down or where you paste text into the picker. Once you have some text here, you can perform various operations on it, or simply copy it to the clipboard for use elsewhere.

The controls just above the text area allow you to interactive with the text in various ways. They mostly work on highlighted text within the text area, or if there is no highlight they work on all the text. Controls near the bottom of the picker allow you to change font, font size, line-height, text direction, etc.

Selection area

Click on characters or buttons in this area to add them to the text area above.

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. Consonants used in native Tibetan words appear to the left, with native Tibetan vowels below. To the right of each consonant is its subjoined version. Progressing to the right, we have syllable and other separators, then additional consonants and vowels used in transliterations of languages such as Sanskrit, Chinese and English. The far right hand block contains numerals and some symbols, and below all run some head marks and paired punctuation.

Open the expanding link for more cantillation signs, symbols, astrological signs, religious signs, vocalic modification and transliteration head letters, and other marks and signs. Another expanding link displays half numbers and precomposed characters that are decomposed in NFC. Decomposed versions of these characters are available from the main table.

Another expanding link below the main chart area reveals characters that are normalised under NFC to more than one character. (Note that you need to turn normalisation off for this to output these characters as single code points.) The decomposed form of these graphemes appear in the main table, and it is best to use those. You will also find the half numbers in the this section.

Controls above the text area

Controls above the input box allow you to run various operations on the text in the box. Most of them work on what you have selected within the box, or the whole box if nothing is selected.

Copy, select, delete, etc. (). The icons on the left above the input box allow you (listing them from left to right) to copy the text to the clipboard, select the text, delete it, generate a URL to share with others that will reproduce for them what you see in the text box, add some sample text to the text area, and open this help file.

Show codepoints. Produces a list of the Unicode code points in the input box. You can usually follow a link from a code point item to more detailed information about that character.

Convert to escapes. Opens a new window for the converter app, which shows various different ways of representing the text in the input box using escapes.

Transcribe to Wylie. Transcribes the contents of the box below from tibetan to latin script using the extended version of Wylie's transcription method as described by The Tibetan & Himalayan Library. By default, the whole content of the box is transcribed, but if you have selected a range of text only that range will be transcribed. The result appears in a separate area below the box.

Where ambiguity exists, and there is more than one way to transcribe a character, the displayed text will show alternatives. Click on the alternative that you prefer, and the others will disappear.

Note: I implemented most of the rules, but I used diacritics over lowercase letters rather than uppercase letters, except for the fixed form characters. I also didn't provide conversions for many of the symbols – they will appear without change in the transcription. There may be some bugs for the less common aspects of the transcription, but the are not likely to occur for native tibetan words.

Transcribe from Wylie. Opens the THL's Online Tibetan Transliteration Converter, since Wylie's transcription doesn't make it easy to go from latin to tibetan, and I haven't yet implemented a converter myself.

Make example. This may be useful to speed up the creation of examples. You can create an example with four parts, delimited by /, in the following order: [1] Tibetan text, [2] IPA transcription, [3] other transcription, [4] meaning. You don't need to add all four elements, but if you want to skip one in the middle of the sequence, use //.

Character markup. This may be useful to speed up the creation of markup for a specific character or set of characters. Select one or more characters in the text area, then click this button. It will return something like the following for each of the characters:

<span class="codepoint"><span lang="bo">&#x0F40;</span> <span class="uname">U+0F40 TIBETAN LETTER KA</span></span>

When you add it to your document, it will look like this.


Secondary text area

This area receives the output of various tools. Note that the text is editable.

The icons to the right ( ) allow you to copy the contents of this area to the clipboard, insert the contents into the main text area, or close this subwindow, respectively. When you insert the contents of this subwindow into the main text area, the text will overwrite any highlighted text, otherwise it will just be inserted at the current cursor position.

Some conversions produce ambiguous output. In this case, you will be offered two alternatives on a yellow background, eg. presents you with the alternatives 'h' or 't'. Simply click on the alternative you want, and the picker will discard the rest.

Character names

As you mouse over characters in the selection areas of the picker, you will see the code point and character name appear here.


When working on an iPad or similar device, you should set this to Off. This prevents the keyboard popping up after you input every character.

Input aids

The vertical grey bar to the left allows you to turn on/off a number of panels that can help create the text you want.

Default. Turns off all input aids and closes all panels.

Hinting. Changes the selection area 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.

Latin characters. Displays a panel of lowercase Latin characters you are likely to need for transcription.

Wylie transcription. Displays a panel that allows you to generate some Tibetan text from a THL Extended Wylie Transliteration Schema transcription. It currently offers only a basic set of characters. Where there are multiple possible choices, these choices are presented in a small pop-up box; click on the choice you want to insert it into the output area.

Controls on the yellow background

Left-hand controls. These controls at the bottom of the page allow you to modify fonts used, the font size, line height, and the height of the text area.

Add codepoint. You can add characters to the text area by typing codepoints and escapes in the Add codepoint field and hitting return. This will accept HTML numeric character references, javascript and other programming escapes, U+ Unicode notation, or just simple codepoint numbers separated by spaces. All codepoint numbers (including those in escapes) must be hexadecimal.

Search for. 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:).

More controls

Click on more controls to reveal the less commonly used controls described here.

Normalise. All text is added to the main text area 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.

Change table font. Allows you to change the font and size of the characters you click on in the main selection areas.

CC base. You would normally expect combining characters, such as accents and vowel signs, when displayed alone to be associated with a dotted circle, however these font glyphs are handled inconsistently from one browser/font to the next. The picker is set up for a given web font initially, but if you change the table font you may need to do something to ensure that combining characters display in a way that helps you click on them.

The CC base control allows you to specify a base character that will be used before each combining character (or no base character). This should hopefully help for most font and browser combinations.

Copyright Licence CC-By.