Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rupee symbol (₹) now part of Unicode

The newly minted Indian Rupee symbol (₹) is now part of Unicode and has been assigned codepoint U+20B9 in the Currency Symbol block.While we await the OS manufacturers to ship out updates to add this symbol to their system fonts and also make it available for typing in when one installs Indian locales - the Indian government has apparently mandated ^⌥R (Ctrl-Alt-R) as the combination to be used to input the symbol - individual font designers have already come out with easily usable fonts for the symbol at the correct codepoint. The first one to be published is the Rupakara (रूपकारः) font designed by Mr. Michael Everson from Ireland and made available for free via an open licence. You can download it from these locations:

To use it on a Macintosh, download the 4 TTF files, select them all and open them in FontBook, and click on "Install Font" to install the font on the system. After you do this, you should be able to see the symbol correctly on any documents or webpages that encode it at the Unicode codepoint U+20B9. As a test, the following sentences should make sense to you and display the symbol correctly:
  • The evidence of massive runaway inflation is all around us: In Mumbai these days, you can buy a litre of dairy farm milk for ₹36 and a kilo of dahi (Indian yogurt) for ₹60 which is almost double the price a few years ago! Onions have gone from ₹7 a kilo in 2008 to ₹36 today!!
  • आजकल मुंबई में एक लीटर दूध का भाव ₹३६ है और एक किलो दही का ₹६०, जो कुछ ही सालों के मुक़ाबले दुगना है!
  • ₹36/litre = ~$3.15/gallon @ $1 = ₹43 as of today.
While you can view the symbol, in order to type it, you need to jump through a few more hoops, until Apple releases a keyboard shortcut for the Rupee (ideally, it should be (Option) followed by some key in keeping with the Mac custom). In the meantime, you have two options:
  • Use the Unicode Hex Input utility: This allows you to type in Option followed by the codepoint (20B9 in our case) to have the symbol encoded at that codepoint to appear. It's available in the Input Source viewer once you have enabled it through  > System Preferences > Language and Text > Input Sources.
  • Use the Character Viewer utility to pick out the Rupee symbol and add it to Favorites. Whenever you need to insert the symbol, pick it from the Favorites list and click Insert. You can also use the Clipboard for convenience.
If you have any questions about any of this, feel free to send me a comment. It's quite simple and straightforward, so Enjoy!