Difference Between Unicode and UTF-8

Even though the computer is an entity that is considered to be very smart and performs complex tasks, making it do all these tasks in just a matter of entering the correct numbers in the correct format, and the job is done.

The computers deal with all the data that is input in them in binary codes, i.e. “0” and “1”. Encoding is an algorithm used to change all that data into these binary codes. 

Unicode vs UTF-8

The main difference between Unicode and UTF-8 is that Unicode was developed with an aim to create a brand new standard for mapping characters of every language in the world.

UTF-8 one way, among many other ways through which the characters could be encoded inside a file, into Unicode.

Unicode and UTF 8

Unicode is used universally to assign a code to every character and symbol for all the languages in the world. It is the only encoding standard that supports all languages and could be helpful in retrieving or combining data of any language.

It is helpful in many web-based technologies, as well as with XML, Java, JavaScript, LDAP.

On the other hand, UTF-8 or Unicode Transformation-8-bit is a mapping method within Unicode, developed for compatibility.

UTF-8 is used widely in creating web pages and databases. It is gradually being adopted as a replacement for the older encoding systems.

Comparison Table Between Unicode and UTF-8

Parameters of ComparisonUnicodeUTF-8
AboutIt is basically a character set that is used to translate characters into numbers.Refers to Unicode transformation format and is an encoding system used to translate
UsageIt is used for assigning codes to the characters and symbols in every language.Used for electronic communication and it is a character encoding of variable width.
LanguagesIt can take data from multiple scripts like Chinese, Japanese etc.It doesn’t take languages as input
SpecialitiesIt supports data from multiple scriptsIts byte-oriented efficiency and has sufficient space
Used inUnicode is commonly using Java technologies, windows, HTML, and officeIt has been adopted by the world wide web

What is Unicode? 

Unicode attempts to define and assign numbers to every possible character. It is an encoding standard used universally to assign codes to the characters and symbols in every language.

It supports data from multiple scripts like Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese and French.

Before Unicode, a computer’s operating system could process and display only the written symbols. The operating system code page was tied to a single script.

Its standards define approximately one hundred and forty-five thousand characters that cover 159 historical as well as modern scripts along with emojis, symbols and even non-visual formatting and control codes.

Although just like any other thing, even Unicode has some issues of its own. It faces problems with legacy character set mapping, Indic scripts, and character combining too.

Unicode is often used in Java technologies, HTML, XML, Windows and Office. Some of the methods used by Unicode are UTF-8, UTF-16, UTF-32.

In simple language, we can say that Unicode is used to translate characters into numbers and is basically a character set with numbers that are considered as code points. 

What is UTF-8?

UTF-8 is an encoding that is used for translating numbers into binary codes. In simple language, we can say that UTF is used for electronic communication and is a character encoding of variable width.

Initially, it was just a superior alternative design of UTF-1. Before, ASCII was a prominent standard used for the same, but it had recurring issues. These issues were solved with the development of UTF-8 within Unicode.

UTF-8 uses only one byte when representing every code point, as opposed to UTF-16 using two bytes and UTF-32 using four bytes.

This results in half the file size when UTF-8 is used instead of UTF-16 or UTF-32. UTF – 8 holds the capability to encode about 1 million character code points that are valid and that too using just one to four-one byte code units.

It has been adopted by the World Wide Web because of its byte-oriented efficiency and efficient space. UTF-8 is gradually being adopted to replace older encoding standards in many systems like the E-mail transport system.

Main Differences Between Unicode and UTF-8

  1. Unicode is a character set used to translate characters into numbers. In contrast to that, UTF-8 is Unicode transformation format and an encoding system used to translate.
  2. Unicode supports data from multiple scripts while UTF-8 converts valid character code points.
  3. Unicode can take data from multiple scripts like Hebrew, Hindi, Chinese and Japanese, whereas UTF-8 doesn’t take languages as input.
  4. Unicode It supports data from multiple scripts, and UTF-8 has byte-oriented efficiency.
  5. Javascript, MS Office, HTML, etc., use Unicode. UTF-8 is adopted by the worldwide web.


In the world of computers, there are so many things happening side by side and one after the other that sometimes it just becomes impossible to know and differentiate each and every happening.

Unicode and UTF 8 are two entities that are working together side by side, and it is nearly impossible to segregate them from one another.

In contrast, Unicode is used by the computer to take many scripts like Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, French, etc. and also emojis, symbols and other non-visual formatting codes.

On the other hand, UTF-8 is a Unicode transformation format that is used as an encoding system to translate.

Unicode basically assigns all the characters entered to the computer with a number which ultimately makes it easier for the computer to understand and then proceed with the given commands.

To make the computer understand and follow the commands given to it, it is really very important to give the instructions in the correct format, which the computer understands and coding.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00987913.2000.10764582
  2. https://arxiv.org/abs/1701.04047
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