Unicode vs UTF-8: Difference and Comparison

Even though the computer is an entity that is considered to be very smart and performs complex tasks, making it does 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 input data in binary codes, i.e. “0” and “1”. Encoding is an algorithm used to change all that data into these binary codes. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Unicode provides a unique code for each character across various scripts, ensuring global communication without language barriers.
  2. UTF-8 is an efficient encoding method that represents Unicode characters as 8-bit code units, allowing for backward compatibility with ASCII.
  3. UTF-8 is more storage efficient, using a variable number of bytes for different characters, making it the internet’s most widely used Unicode encoding.

Unicode vs UTF-8

Unicode is a universal character encoding standard that assigns a unique number, or code point, to every character in every language and script, including emojis and special symbols. UTF-8 is a variable-length encoding scheme that maps each Unicode code point to a sequence of 8-bit bytes.

Unicode vs UTF 8

IT Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to technology

1 / 10

Saving a file from the Internet onto your desktop is called

2 / 10

LED stands for:

3 / 10

Which is an Input device

4 / 10

Which of the following is not an electronic device?

5 / 10

Which of the following is not a search engine

6 / 10

Machine becomes intelligent once they are

7 / 10

Artificial Intelligence is a way of _____.

8 / 10

Who is considered as the father of computing

9 / 10

How many numbers of home pages a web site can contain

10 / 10

The output printed by a computer through a printer on the paper is called

Your score is


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 from any language.

It is helpful in many web-based technologies and with XML, Java, JavaScript, and 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 older encoding systems.

Comparison Table

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 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 and modern scripts, 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 used in Java technologies, HTML, XML, Windows and Office. Some of the methods used by Unicode are UTF-8, UTF-16, and 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 was, too, using just one to four-one-byte code units.

The World Wide Web has adopted it 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.

utf 8

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

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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