Universal Coded Character Set

What Does Universal Coded Character Set Mean?

The Universal Coded Character Set (UCS) is a character encoding standard defined by ISO/IEC 10646. It is a standard set of characters which are used as a basis for many other character encodings. UCS contains over a hundred thousand abstract characters, and each is identified through a unique name and a sequence of integer numbers called the code point.


The Universal Coded Character Set is also known as the Universal Multi-Octet Coded Character Set.

Techopedia Explains Universal Coded Character Set

The Universal Coded Character Set was originally published by the Unicode Consortium, a special interest group of American manufacturers, as the 16-bit Unicode V 1.0 in 1991 and was updated to V 1.1 in 1993. Meanwhile, the ISO/IEC was creating something entirely different, but decided to adapt Unicode V 1.1 since they understood its importance, and drafted this into ISO/IEC 10646 Universal Multi-Octet Coded Character Set. Both the Unicode and the ISO/IEC standards have remained largely in step and the standards are effectively interchangeable, the only difference being that the Unicode is a 16-bit subset of the 32-bit character set ISO/IEC 10646.

UCS has been made to be applicable to the representation, interchange, transmission, processing, input, storage and presentation of the written form of the world’s different languages as well as additional symbols used in mathematics and the sciences, covering 110,181 unique characters taken from the world’s various scripts as well as their other forms such as upper and lower case and accents.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…