How can I see the Unicode code point of the character where the cursor is? For example, if my cursor is on a character, I'd like Vim to tell me that it is U+2318.

Alternative information, such as the base-10 representation (8984) or the UTF-8 representation (E2 8C 98) would be acceptable.

I ask about Unicode and UTF-8 because they are most common, but if the answer generalizes to other character sets and encodings, that would be good to know as well.

1 Answer 1


You can use %b or %B in statusline or rulerformat. From :help statusline:

b N   Value of character under cursor. 
B N   As above, in hexadecimal. 

For example:

set statusline=%b\ 0x%B

Gives you:

8984 0x2318

Another way is to use ga or the :ascii command. From :help ga:

:as[cii]        or                                      ga :as :ascii
ga                      Print the ascii value of the character under the
                        cursor in decimal, hexadecimal and octal.

Which will give you:

<⌘> 8984, Hex 2318, Octal 21430

Another useful mapping is g8:

e2 8c 98

Which prints the hex value of the actual bytes stored in the file (this command assumes UTF-8).

In addition there are some plugins you could use:

  • unicode.vim adds various useful unicode-related commands. Use :UnicodeName to get details of the character under the cursor.

  • characterize.vim; this expands the ga command with the unicode name, similar to unicode.vim.

  • My own uni CLI tool has a little Vim integration script which provides :UnicodeName from unicode.vim (but none of the other features).

  • "this command assumes UTF-8" - the documentation says this, but my experience is that it works in any encoding (but does not respect fileencoding).
    – Random832
    Feb 24, 2015 at 13:27
  • 4
    After further experimentation, a if encoding is set to a non-utf8 multibyte encoding such as cp932, g8 will only print the first byte, but ga will show the full character number.
    – Random832
    Feb 24, 2015 at 13:35
  • Is there a way to have the output of g8 appear in statusline by itself? Kinda of like the original question with the "alternative information" part.
    – 0fnt
    Oct 16, 2016 at 15:39

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