Adding Unicode and ANSI Characters in Text Labels

Accessing the Extended Character Set 01.png

Inserting special characters into a string comes up in a variety of situations. Be sure to see:
FAQ-148 How Do I Insert Special Characters into Text Labels, Worksheet Cells and Dialog Boxes?.

Adding Unicode Characters to Text Labels

There are various ways to add Unicode characters to your text labels.

  • While creating your text label, enter the 4-character hex code for the character (e.g. 03BB for "λ"), then press ALT+X.
  • Versions prior to 2022b: While creating your text label, right-click and choose Symbol Map. Select your Font, check the Unicode box and enter the 4-character hex code for the symbol in the Go to Unicode box. Verify that the symbol is correct and click Insert.
  • Versions 2022b and later: While While creating your text label, right-click and choose Insert: Symbol Map. This opens a simplified symbol map, with common characters arranged by category. To access the advanced Symbol Map dialog shown above, click the Advanced button.
  • Right-click on an existing text label and choose Properties. On the Text Object Text tab, click the Symbol Map button Symbol Map button.png. This will either open the advanced symbol map or simple map, depending on your version (note that in the latest version, you can toggle between the two symbol map dialogs using the Advanced/Simple button). If using the advanced dialog, select your Font, check the Unicode box and enter the 4-character hex code for the symbol in the Go to Unicode box. Verify that the symbol is correct and click Insert (e.g. Font = Arial and Go to Unicode = 03BB).
  • While creating your text label, copy a character from a browser page and paste it into the label.

All of these methods assume that the chosen font set includes the character you are trying to insert. If the font does not include your character, Origin will not display the character. Instead, you will see an empty rectangle in the space reserved for the character. If this occurs, try switching fonts.

Simple Symbol Map

Starting with Origin 2022b, while editing text labels or worksheet cell contents, you can right-click and choose Insert: Symbol Map and open a simplified Symbol Map dialog. The idea is to give users quick, point-and-click access to most-used symbols, with some accompanying restrictions.

  • Insert symbols from the Greek, Math. European, Combining, Arrow and Miscellaneous tabs.
  • The Combining tab is used to insert elements that are often combined with letters in scientific expressions (e.g. adding overline (  ¯  ) to "x").
  • The user cannot change fonts in this dialog. Fonts are pre-selected within the tabs. To change fonts used by each tab, open the Special Default Fonts dialog (Tools: Special Default Fonts). When editing in the worksheet cell, the cell's active font is used and some dialog symbols may not display properly in the active font.
  • Symbols entered from any tab of this dialog -- or from the Advanced dialog -- will be added to the Recently used symbols list.
  • If the user is not able to access the desired symbol from this dialog, they should click the Advanced button and go to the advanced Symbol Map; or use the ALT+X method as described above.
Symbol Map in Notes.png

Adding ANSI Characters to Text Labels

These are older methods which pre-date Origin 2018 and Unicode support. If you are entering text in the Object Properties dialog box, in worksheet column cells, or you are typing prefixes or suffixes in dialog box text boxes (such as you see on the Tick Labels page of the Axis dialog box), you can access the ANSI character set using this procedure:

  1. Click at the location in which you want to add the special character in the text box or worksheet cell.
  2. Enable Num Lock on your keyboard.
  3. While holding down the ALT key, type 0 followed by the decimal code for the ANSI character using the number keypad.
  4. When you release the ALT key, the ANSI character displays (in the Object Properties dialog box, it displays in the lower view box).

For the Object Properties dialog box and for prefix and suffix text boxes, Origin uses the font selected from the associated Font list to determine the character to display in the label. If "Arial" is selected from the Font list, Origin uses the Arial character that corresponds to the code that you entered in the label.

If you want use a special character from a font set other than that selected from the Font list, you must use the appropriate escape sequence syntax. You will most likely have need for this when adding a special character from the Symbol set. In most cases, Symbol will not be selected from the Font list; instead your default label font will be selected.

To display the character associated with the code from the Symbol set, do one of the following:

  • Add the \g(SpecialCharacter) embedded text formatting command (see Escape Sequences).
  • Highlight the special character and click the Greek button Button Greek.png in the Object Properties dialog box.

Note: Each font has a unique ANSI character set. To find codes for characters from any font sets, consult the Windows Character Map (under Accessories > System Tools in older operating systems or in your Apps list).

Use escape notation Use the escape code when insert the Unicode Character.

This checkbox is not shown when called from non-Rich Text worksheet cell. 

Note: Prior to Origin 2018, Origin did not support Unicode. This setting is default setting in the versions prior to 2018. If you want to share your work with Origin users who are using pre-2018 versions, make sure to check this check box.
Close Dialog on Insert Close this dialog when you click the Insert button.