The Mother Lode Unicode List


February 23, 2016


Ever found yourself Googling special characters you may not even know the names of? Ever wished you had lightning fast access to a couple of your most commonly used symbols as you write in WorkFlowy? I’m going to share with you as complete a Unicode list as you can hope to find anywhere – one that you can slice and dice as you need. Plus we’re going to look at a simple system for accessing those Unicode characters and symbols you’ve stashed away without skipping a beat as you work in WorkFlowy.

Uni- what?

Unicode is a universal character encoding standard, designed to support characters from all languages around the world. Now that broadens things. If you’re reading this, your language will be included in the ± 110,000-character/ 2300-list/ 249-category outline I’ve put together (Notice the “±” sign anybody?). You may be after Ethiopic…

Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics…

… or even Egyptian Hieroglyphs:

More practically, you might be looking for phonetic symbols…

… any one of the following sample outlines (which include Emojis):

Enclosed Alphanumerics…

… which you might want to use like so in WorkFlowy:

All of this and way more you’ll find in the list I’ll be sharing with you shortly. Before I give you a couple of tips on getting just the parts of the shared list you want into WorkFlowy (while I still have your attention)… here are 2 WorkFlowy workflows that you might want to try out:

A saved search index

You might find that using a couple of Unicode symbols at the beginning of WorkFlowy list links and saved searches (instead of descriptions) will help you to identify what’s what at a glance. A neat little trick I’ve got going is to pop a few saved searches into the note of a list on my home page. Start your index in the 2nd line of the note… then all you do is click or tap on the 3 dots for the note (and your index) to expand:

Your Unicode on demand

So you’re busy WorkFlowying… and you’d like to copy a Unicode character or symbol you know you’ve got somewhere in WorkFlowy and get back to your work – with no major detours. Here’s a great setup which accomplishes just that:

You might want to create a tailor-made list with the individual symbols you draw on most frequently:

Tag your most commonly accessed categories with something like “#UC” (Unicode):

Now to “bookmark” and call up your “#UC” tags no matter where you are in WorkFlowy:

(a) While zoomed into your Unicode list, filter for your “#UC” tag

(b) Hit the “Star this page” button at the top right of your interface (on desktop) or alternatively use the Ctrl+Shift+* keyboard shortcut to save the search to the Starred Pages Menu.

(c) Whatever you’re working on in WorkFlowy, all you do is bring up your “Starred Pages Menu” by clicking on the star icon next to the search box or using the Ctrl+; (semicolon) keyboard shortcut and select your saved search. To navigate back to where you came from, the Starred Pages Menu temporarily holds onto the context you were previously in:

Where’s that list already??

The shared Unicode list

Now here are a couple of pointers on how to squeeze what out of the list. As I’ve mentioned, it’s a rather long list (2300 lists), so you might want to narrow things down a bit…

A few you might like

Of the 249 categories in the Unicode mega list:

I’ve tagged these 20 (which you might either find interesting or useful) with a “#this” tag – which you can go ahead and filter for:

Copying the shared list (or parts thereof) to WorkFlowy

Here are a couple of options – but please be aware of your monthly list limit if you don’t have WorkFlowy Pro:

(a) To grab the whole bang shoot, just click on the “Add to my account” button. If you’ve got WorkFlowy Pro, you’ll be importing 2300 individual lists in 249 individual categories. You can duplicate that list in order to edit it and then delete the original.

(b) Filter for the “#this” tag > select the remaining lists manually and copy-paste them into WorkFlowy.

(c) Click on this alternative demo link and tag all lists you want with your own tag > filter for your tag > select all search results and manually copy over to your WorkFlowy account.


  • To flip through categories in the shared list real quickly: instead of zooming into each and then back out again, see this post for a brilliant hidden WorkFlowy keyboard shortcut.
  • You will note that some of the characters in the shared list show as empty squares or question marks. That means your system or platform does not read those. For example, you will most likely not be able to see the Egyptian Hieroglyphs on Windows desktop… but you will on iOS. So… use Unicode symbols that show up on all the platforms you use. A good indication is using WorkFlowy in your desktop browser to view them.

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Tim Janke
Tim Janke
2 years ago

As of Aug 17, 2021 the link to “the shared Unicode list” is broken. Clicking the link brings you to webpage

which simply shows a sad face and the words “ refused to connect”. Too bad! This sounded really useful!

1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Janke

Very interested article, i have started my own #UC list before I found your article and now is growing fast 🙂

The link in your comment seams not to work for me, can you repose it?

Thank you for all the work you put in to share this useful information.

2 months ago
Reply to  Tim Janke

Same. Link isn’t working. Any chance this will be updated?

6 years ago

Frank, amazingly helpful. Thanks! One question… if I want to add a unicode character that I’m not seeing in the list, but have found online, how do I go about doing that in Workflowy? Thanks again.

6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Hey Adam,

Just copy it over into your own tailor-made list that you can tag for easy filtering 🙂

7 years ago

Frank–this question isn’t really on topic, but I’ve been wondering how you create the GIFs you include in these posts. Can you shed some light? Thanks!

7 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Hey Dan, for 5-second GIFs you can use Gyazo… but for my Windows machine I’ve moved to ScreenToGif. It’s a free tool that allows you to capture at the FPS (Frames Per Second) of your choice. No installation necessary.

7 years ago
Reply to  frank.dg

Great, thanks! I’ll check it out.

Proud owner of your book, btw 😉

Stefano F. Rausch
7 years ago

Busy like a bee — well done!

7 years ago

There were initially ±110,000 lists which I had to organize in “rows” and categories to bring it down to ±2,300 lists (249 categories). That’s because every single category copied got pasted in as individual characters one under the other.

I had to use the below PhraseExpress script and hit Esc when a category had bundled into one list… then I had to divide each category list into the numbered/ coded rows. Manually. One by one.

{#loop {#END}{#DEL}{#SPACE -count 2} -count 500}

So, yep, it was a “don’t break the chain” project which took up some time daily over a couple of weeks.

Stefano F. Rausch
7 years ago

Wow, very nice and extremely useful Frank. Must have been a load of work getting the characters into WorkFlowy 😉 Thank you!

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