public final class Character extends Object
implements Serializable Comparable<Character>

The Character class wraps a value of the primitive type char in an object. An object of type Character contains a single field whose type is char.

In addition, this class provides several methods for determining a character's category (lowercase letter, digit, etc.) and for converting characters from uppercase to lowercase and vice versa.

Character information is based on the Unicode Standard, version 6.2.0.

The methods and data of class Character are defined by the information in the UnicodeData file that is part of the Unicode Character Database maintained by the Unicode Consortium. This file specifies various properties including name and general category for every defined Unicode code point or character range.

The file and its description are available from the Unicode Consortium at:

Unicode Character Representations

The char data type (and therefore the value that a Character object encapsulates) are based on the original Unicode specification, which defined characters as fixed-width 16-bit entities. The Unicode Standard has since been changed to allow for characters whose representation requires more than 16 bits. The range of legal code points is now U+0000 to U+10FFFF, known as Unicode scalar value. (Refer to the definition of the U+n notation in the Unicode Standard.)

The set of characters from U+0000 to U+FFFF is sometimes referred to as the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP). Characters whose code points are greater than U+FFFF are called supplementary characters. The Java platform uses the UTF-16 representation in char arrays and in the String and StringBuffer classes. In this representation, supplementary characters are represented as a pair of char values, the first from the high-surrogates range, (\uD800-\uDBFF), the second from the low-surrogates range (\uDC00-\uDFFF).

A char value, therefore, represents Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP) code points, including the surrogate code points, or code units of the UTF-16 encoding. An int value represents all Unicode code points, including supplementary code points. The lower (least significant) 21 bits of int are used to represent Unicode code points and the upper (most significant) 11 bits must be zero. Unless otherwise specified, the behavior with respect to supplementary characters and surrogate char values is as follows:

  • The methods that only accept a char value cannot support supplementary characters. They treat char values from the surrogate ranges as undefined characters. For example, Character.isLetter('\uD840') returns false, even though this specific value if followed by any low-surrogate value in a string would represent a letter.
  • The methods that accept an int value support all Unicode characters, including supplementary characters. For example, Character.isLetter(0x2F81A) returns true because the code point value represents a letter (a CJK ideograph).

In the Java SE API documentation, Unicode code point is used for character values in the range between U+0000 and U+10FFFF, and Unicode code unit is used for 16-bit char values that are code units of the UTF-16 encoding. For more information on Unicode terminology, refer to the Unicode Glossary.

Nested Class Summary

class Character.Subset Instances of this class represent particular subsets of the Unicode character set. 
class Character.UnicodeBlock A family of character subsets representing the character blocks in the Unicode specification. 
enum Character.UnicodeScript A family of character subsets representing the character scripts defined in the Unicode Standard Annex #24: Script Names

Constant Summary

int BYTES The number of bytes used to represent a char value in unsigned binary form.
byte COMBINING_SPACING_MARK General category "Mc" in the Unicode specification.
byte CONNECTOR_PUNCTUATION General category "Pc" in the Unicode specification.