Arrow (symbol)

An arrow is a graphical symbol, such as ← or →, or a pictogram, used to point or indicate direction. In its simplest form, an arrow is a triangle, chevron, or concave kite, usually[1] affixed to a line segment or rectangle, and in more complex forms a representation of an actual arrow (e.g. ➵ U+27B5). The direction indicated by an arrow is the one along the length of the line or rectangle towards the single pointed end.

History

The typographical symbol developed in the 18th century as an abstraction from arrow projectiles. Its use is comparable to that of the older (medieval) manicule (pointing hand, 👈). Also comparable is the use of a fleur-de-lis symbol indicating north in a compass rose by Pedro Reinel (c. 1504). An early arrow symbol is found in an illustration of Bernard Forest de Bélidor's treatise L'architecture hydraulique, printed in France in 1737. The arrow is here used to illustrate the direction of the flow of water and of the water wheel's rotation. At about the same time, arrow symbols were used to indicate the flow of rivers in maps. A trend towards abstraction, in which the arrow's fletching is removed, can be observed in the mid-to-late 19th century. In a further abstraction of the symbol, John Richard Green's A Short History of the English People of 1874 contained maps by cartographer Emil Reich, which indicated army movements by curved lines, with solid triangular arrowheads placed intermittently along the lines.

Use of arrow symbols in mathematical notation originates in the early 20th century. David Hilbert in 1922 introduced the arrow symbol representing logical implication. The double-headed arrow representing logical equivalence was introduced by Albrecht Becker in Die Aristotelische Theorie der Möglichkeitsschlüsse, Berlin, 1933.

Usage

Arrows are universally recognised for indicating directions.[1] They are widely used on signage and for wayfinding,[1] and are often used in road surface markings.

Upwards pointing arrows are often used to indicate an increase in a numerical value, and downwards pointing arrows indicate a decrease.

Arrows in Unicode

In Unicode, the block Arrows occupies the hexadecimal range U+2190–U+21FF, as described below.

SymbolNameSymbolNameSymbolNameSymbolName
HexHexHexHex
Picture of this symbolPicture of this symbolPicture of this symbolPicture of this symbol
Leftwards ArrowRightwards Arrow With LoopUpwards Paired ArrowsLeftwards Arrow To Bar
U+2190U+21acU+21c8U+21e4
Upwards ArrowLeft Right Wave ArrowRightwards Paired ArrowsRightwards Arrow To Bar
U+2191U+21adU+21c9U+21e5
Rightwards ArrowLeft Right Arrow With StrokeDownwards Paired ArrowsLeftwards Thick Arrow
U+2192U+21aeU+21caU+21e6
Downwards ArrowDownwards Zigzag ArrowLeftwards Harpoon Over Rightwards HarpoonUpwards Thick Arrow
U+2193U+21afU+21cbU+21e7
Left Right ArrowUpwards Arrow With Tip LeftwardsRightwards Harpoon Over Leftwards HarpoonRightwards Thick Arrow
U+2194U+21b0U+21ccU+21e8
Up Down ArrowUpwards Arrow With Tip RightwardsLeftwards Double Arrow With StrokeDownwards Thick Arrow
U+2195U+21b1U+21cdU+21e9
North West ArrowDownwards Arrow With Tip LeftwardsLeft Right Double Arrow With StrokeUpwards Thick Arrow From Bar
U+2196U+21b2U+21ceU+21ea
North East ArrowDownwards Arrow With Tip RightwardsRightwards Double Arrow With StrokeUpwards Thick Arrow On Pedestal
U+2197U+21b3U+21cfU+21eb
South East ArrowRightwards Arrow With Corner DownwardsLeftwards Double ArrowUpwards Thick Arrow On Pedestal With Horizontal Bar
U+2198U+21b4U+21d0U+21ec
South West ArrowDownwards Arrow With Corner LeftwardsUpwards Double ArrowUpwards Thick Arrow On Pedestal With Vertical Bar
U+2199U+21b5U+21d1U+21ed
Leftwards Arrow With StrokeAnticlockwise Top Semicircle ArrowRightwards Double ArrowUpwards Thick Double Arrow
U+219aU+21b6U+21d2U+21ee
Rightwards Arrow With StrokeClockwise Top Semicircle ArrowDownwards Double ArrowUpwards Thick Double Arrow On Pedestal
U+219bU+21b7U+21d3U+21ef
Leftwards Wave ArrowNorth West Arrow To Long BarLeft Right Double ArrowRightwards Thick Arrow From Wall
U+219cU+21b8U+21d4U+21f0
Rightwards Wave ArrowLeftwards Arrow To Bar Over Rightwards Arrow To BarUp Down Double ArrowNorth West Arrow To Corner
U+219dU+21b9U+21d5U+21f1
Leftwards Two Headed ArrowAnticlockwise Open Circle ArrowNorth West Double ArrowSouth East Arrow To Corner
U+219eU+21baU+21d6U+21f2
Upwards Two Headed ArrowClockwise Open Circle ArrowNorth East Double ArrowUp Down Thick Arrow
U+219fU+21bbU+21d7U+21f3
Rightwards Two Headed ArrowLeftwards Harpoon With Barb UpwardsSouth East Double ArrowRight Arrow With Small Circle
U+21a0U+21bcU+21d8U+21f4
Downwards Two Headed ArrowLeftwards Harpoon With Barb DownwardsSouth West Double ArrowDownwards Arrow Leftwards Of Upwards Arrow
U+21a1U+21bdU+21d9U+21f5
Leftwards Arrow With TailUpwards Harpoon With Barb RightwardsLeftwards Triple ArrowThree Rightwards Arrows
U+21a2U+21beU+21daU+21f6
Rightwards Arrow With TailUpwards Harpoon With Barb LeftwardsRightwards Triple ArrowLeftwards Arrow With Vertical Stroke
U+21a3U+21bfU+21dbU+21f7
Leftwards Arrow From BarRightwards Harpoon With Barb UpwardsLeftwards Squiggle ArrowRightwards Arrow With Vertical Stroke
U+21a4U+21c0U+21dcU+21f8
Upwards Arrow From BarRightwards Harpoon With Barb DownwardsRightwards Squiggle ArrowLeft Right Arrow With Vertical Stroke
U+21a5U+21c1U+21ddU+21f9
Rightwards Arrow From BarDownwards Harpoon With Barb RightwardsUpwards Arrow With Double StrokeLeftwards Arrow With Double Vertical Stroke
U+21a6U+21c2U+21deU+21fa
Downwards Arrow From BarDownwards Harpoon With Barb LeftwardsDownwards Arrow With Double StrokeRightwards Arrow With Double Vertical Stroke
U+21a7U+21c3U+21dfU+21fb
Up Down Arrow With BaseRightwards Arrow Over Leftwards ArrowLeftwards Dashed ArrowLeft Right Arrow With Double Vertical Stroke
U+21a8U+21c4U+21e0U+21fc
Leftwards Arrow With HookUpwards Arrow Leftwards Of Downwards ArrowUpwards Dashed ArrowLeftwards Open-Headed Arrow
U+21a9U+21c5U+21e1U+21fd
Rightwards Arrow With HookLeftwards Arrow Over Rightwards ArrowRightwards Dashed ArrowRightwards Open-Headed Arrow
U+21aaU+21c6U+21e2U+21fe
Leftwards Arrow With LoopLeftwards Paired ArrowsDownwards Dashed ArrowLeft Right Open-Headed Arrow
U+21abU+21c7U+21e3U+21ff

Arrows by Unicode block

Arrows[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+219x
U+21Ax
U+21Bx
U+21Cx
U+21Dx
U+21Ex
U+21Fx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
Dingbats[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+270x
U+271x
U+272x
U+273x
U+274x
U+275x
U+276x
U+277x
U+278x
U+279x
U+27Ax
U+27Bx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
Miscellaneous Symbols and Arrows[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+2B0x
U+2B1x
U+2B2x
U+2B3x ⬿
U+2B4x
U+2B5x
U+2B6x
U+2B7x ⭿
U+2B8x
U+2B9x
U+2BAx
U+2BBx ⮿
U+2BCx
U+2BDx
U+2BEx
U+2BFx ⯿
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points
Supplemental Arrows-A[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+27Fx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
Supplemental Arrows-B[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+290x
U+291x
U+292x
U+293x ⤿
U+294x
U+295x
U+296x
U+297x ⥿
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
Supplemental Arrows-C[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
 0123456789ABCDEF
U+1F80x 🠀 🠁 🠂 🠃 🠄 🠅 🠆 🠇 🠈 🠉 🠊 🠋
U+1F81x 🠐 🠑 🠒 🠓 🠔 🠕 🠖 🠗 🠘 🠙 🠚 🠛 🠜 🠝 🠞 🠟
U+1F82x 🠠 🠡 🠢 🠣 🠤 🠥 🠦 🠧 🠨 🠩 🠪 🠫 🠬 🠭 🠮 🠯
U+1F83x 🠰 🠱 🠲 🠳 🠴 🠵 🠶 🠷 🠸 🠹 🠺 🠻 🠼 🠽 🠾 🠿
U+1F84x 🡀 🡁 🡂 🡃 🡄 🡅 🡆 🡇
U+1F85x 🡐 🡑 🡒 🡓 🡔 🡕 🡖 🡗 🡘 🡙
U+1F86x 🡠 🡡 🡢 🡣 🡤 🡥 🡦 🡧 🡨 🡩 🡪 🡫 🡬 🡭 🡮 🡯
U+1F87x 🡰 🡱 🡲 🡳 🡴 🡵 🡶 🡷 🡸 🡹 🡺 🡻 🡼 🡽 🡾 🡿
U+1F88x 🢀 🢁 🢂 🢃 🢄 🢅 🢆 🢇
U+1F89x 🢐 🢑 🢒 🢓 🢔 🢕 🢖 🢗 🢘 🢙 🢚 🢛 🢜 🢝 🢞 🢟
U+1F8Ax 🢠 🢡 🢢 🢣 🢤 🢥 🢦 🢧 🢨 🢩 🢪 🢫 🢬 🢭
U+1F8Bx
U+1F8Cx
U+1F8Dx
U+1F8Ex
U+1F8Fx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Additional arrows can be found in the Combining Diacritical Marks, Combining Diacritical Marks Extended, Combining Diacritical Marks for Symbols, Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, Miscellaneous Mathematical Symbols-B, Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs, Miscellaneous Technical, Modifier Tone Letters and Spacing Modifier Letters Unicode blocks.

See also

References

  1. "How to Design and Use Arrows on Signage for Wayfinding". Travelwayfinding. 7 April 2019. Key Point 5; Key Point 9. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
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