A few days back India launched a new symbol to represent Indian rupee. This is a proud moment for every Indian as it places us in the elite club of countries like US, UK, Japan who have been enjoying a unique symbol for their currency for past so many years.
Ever since the rupee symbol was unveiled, there has been a lot of confusion as to when will it be officially available on computer, and those who can’t wait for that to happen, have already found ways to use it by installing a font developed by Forodian Technologies.
The general buzz is what is making the wait so long? If a small company can come up with a font within a day, what is stopping giants like Microsoft to do so?
To understand this, you need to understand how a symbol makes to the keyboards or to the Unicode list.
To be used as a character, a symbol needs to make it to the “Unicode Standard List” – a list which is maintained by the Unicode Consortium that contains all the symbols that you see on your keyboard or use through short cut keys (like ALT+0128 for €). Once it finds a place in the list, it gets a unique code (like that for €).
To add the symbol to the Unicode list, the Unicode Consortium must receive an application from the Indian Government. Once the application is received, the symbol would be encoded and assigned a codepoint in the next version of Unicode Standards (current version being 5.2.0). The date for the next release of Unicode has not been decided yet, according to their official website.
Only after the symbol gets the unique codepoint from Unicode, companies like Microsoft can use it for their products.
Knowing the way Indian government works, it might take some time before you can actually use the new rupee symbol in your mails or word documents. 😛
For now you can flaunt the new symbol by using the font developed by Mangalore based Forodian Technologies. But since this is not a standard font, avoid using it when sending a document to someone else, because if the person doesn’t have the font installed on their system, they will only see a ~ symbol.