Zero-width joiner

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ISO keyboard symbol for ZWJ

The zero-width joiner (ZWJ, /zwɪ/)[1] is a non-printing character used in the computerized typesetting of some complex scripts such as the Arabic script or any Indic script. Sometimes the Roman script is to be counted as complex, e.g. when using a Fraktur typeface. When placed between two characters that would otherwise not be connected, a ZWJ causes them to be printed in their connected forms.

The exact behavior of the ZWJ varies depending on whether the use of a conjunct consonant or ligature (where multiple characters are shown with a single glyph) is expected by default; for instance, it suppresses the use of conjuncts in Devanagari (whilst still allowing the use of the individual joining form of a dead consonant, as opposed to a halant form as would be required by the zero-width non-joiner), but induces the use of conjuncts in Sinhala (which does not use them by default).[2] Similarly to Sinhala, when a ZWJ is placed between two emoji characters (or interspersed between multiple), it can result in a single glyph being shown, such as the family emoji, made up of two adult emoji and one or two child emoji.[3]

In some cases, such as the second Devanagari example below, the ZWJ can be used to display a joining form in isolation, when included after the character and combining halant code.

The character's code point is U+200D ZERO WIDTH JOINER (HTML ‍ · ‍). In the InScript keyboard layout for Indian languages, it is typed by the key combination Ctrl+Shift+1. However, many layouts use the ']' key for this character.[4]


Use of ZWNJ and ZWJ to select alternate forms of Devanagari, Tamil, Kannada, Sinhala and emoji.
Character sequence Appearance Description
[Man] [ZWJ] [Woman] [ZWJ] [Boy] 👪 Family: Man, Woman, Boy
[Waving white flag] [ZWJ] [Rainbow] 🏳️‍🌈 Rainbow Flag
[Runner] [Emoji Modifier Fitzpatrick Type-1-2] [ZWJ] [Female Sign] 🏃🏻‍♀️ Woman Running: Light Skin Tone
[Runner] [Emoji Modifier Fitzpatrick Type-6] [ZWJ] [Female Sign] 🏃🏿‍♀️ Woman Running: Dark Skin Tone
[Man] [ZWJ] [Red hair] 👨‍🦰 Man: Red Hair
[Person] [ZWJ] [Sheaf of rice] 👨‍🌾 Farmer
Character sequence Appearance
[ka क] [virāma ्] क्
[ka क] [virāma ्] [ZWJ] क्‍
[ka क] [virāma ्] [ṣa ष] क्ष
[ka क] [virāma ्] [ZWJ] [ṣa ष] क्‍ष
Character sequence Appearance
[ra ರ‍] [virāma ್] [ka ಕ] ರ್ಕ
[ra ರ‍] [ZWJ] [virāma ್] [ka ಕ] ರ‍್ಕ
Character sequence Appearance
[śa ශ] [virāma ්] [ra ර] ශ්ර
[śa ශ] [virāma ්] [ZWJ] [ra ර] ශ්‍ර
(Until Unicode 5.0; in later editions, specific code points are allotted[5])
Character sequence Appearance
[Na ണ] [virāma ്] [ZWJ] ണ്‍
[na ന] [virāma ്] [ZWJ] ന്‍
[ra ര] [virāma ്] [ZWJ] ര്‍
[la ല] [virāma ്] [ZWJ] ല്‍
[La ള] [virāma ്] [ZWJ] ള്‍

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "113 New Unicode Emoji (plus skin tones)". Unicode Blog. 2016-11-28. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  2. ^ Constable, Peter (2004-06-30). "Proposal on Clarification and Consolidation of the Function of ZERO WIDTH JOINER in Indic Scripts" (PDF). Unicode Consortium. UTC L2/04-279, Public Review Issue #37.
  3. ^ "Zero Width Joiner". Emojipedia. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  4. ^ "ചിത്രം:Inscript.jpg – Malayalam Computing" (in Malayalam). Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  5. ^ "Changes related to Malayalam in Unicode 5.1.0 from 5.0" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-06-12.

External links[edit]