Use international characters as a marker symbol in ArcMap

Last Published: April 25, 2020


You can display any character or symbol, from any language, as a character marker symbol, as long as you have a font installed on your system that includes the character.

This article shows how to use a Unicode font as a character marker symbol for fonts that are not listed in the Font Palette (characters that are beyond the 1~255 range).


  1. Click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map. For information about using Character Map, see the Help in the Character Map utility.
  2. Check the 'Advanced view' check box.
    [O-Image] Character Map: Advanced view option
  3. Select the font that contains the character you would like to use as a character marker symbol.
  4. Select Unicode from the Character set dropdown list.
  5. Select the character from the table.

    A hexadecimal code point value will appear in the lower left corner of the dialog box. For example, the code point value of the Japanese character
    [O-Image] Japanese Character Temple
    is 'U+5BFA.' The 'U+' at the beginning signifies that the hexadecimal code represents the Unicode encoding.
    [O-Image] Character Map
  6. Use the Windows Calculator to convert the hexadecimal code into a decimal value.

    a. Select Start > Programs > Accessories > Calculator.
    b. Select Scientific from the View menu.
    c. Select the Hex Radio button.
    d. Enter the hexadecimal code, for example '5BFA.'
    e. Click the Dec radio button.

    In the above example, the hexadecimal value '5BFA' will become '23546.' Copy this value for use in ArcMap.
  7. Start ArcMap and add the data you would like to symbolize.
  8. Click the symbol beneath the layer in the Table of Contents. The Symbol Selector dialog box will appear.
  9. Click the Properties button .
  10. Select 'Character Marker Symbol' from the Type dropdown list and select the font that contains the character you would like to use.
  11. Paste the decimal value you copied in Step 6 into the Index field.
    [O-Image] Japanese character in the Symbol Property Editor dialog
  12. Click OK to close the Symbol Property Editor and the Symbol Selector dialogs box. You should see the new character marker symbol displayed in the map.
    [O-Image] Map with Japanese character symbol

Article ID:000004733

  • ArcMap 8 x

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