Unicode Variation Sequences

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Unicode Variation Sequences

A Unicode variation sequence is a special kind of character substitution. Variation selectors provide a mechanism for specifying a restriction on the set of glyphs that are used to represent a particular character. They also provide a mechanism for specifying variants that have essentially the same semantics but substantially different ranges of glyphs.

A variation sequence consists of a base character (or a spacing mark) followed by a single variation selector. The Unicode Consortium maintains three lists with variation sequences:

Standardized variation sequences.

Emoji variation sequences. The variation selector character is either U+FE0E (text style) or U+FE0F (emoji style).

Ideographic variation sequences. The variation selector character is in the range U+E0100 to U+E01EF.

Import and Export

You can import and export Unicode variation sequences, using this format:

Base Selector GlyphName

for example:



Note: User defined variation sequences are not valid. If you are in need of a custom substitution, then you can most likely use glyph substitutions which are part of OpenType layout features.


More information about variation sequences and the lists can be found here: