Sign lists

Below is an inventory of some sign lists of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Although a globally agreed upon sign list would be extremely helpful, this objective has not yet been reached.

The names I assign to the sign lists are my own, and are meant to simplify the discussion.

Basic lists:

Extended lists:


This is the sign-list published on pp. 442-543 of
A. Gardiner. Egyptian Grammar. Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1957.
The name of each sign consists of an element from the set {A, ..., Z, Aa}, followed by a blank, followed by a number. To indicate variant signs, the number is sometimes followed by one or two asterisks, or the number may be enclosed in brackets. The following are included: There is an inconsistency in the orientation of L3 on p. 477 and on p. 545. The latter is generally considered to be an error.


This is the "Zeichenliste" published on pp. 1025-1103 of
R. Hannig. Grosses Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch: die Sprache der Pharaonen (2800-950 v.Chr.). Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1995.
There are the following differences with Gardiner57:


There was a proposal N1637 (from 1997-09-18 by Michael Everson) to include hieroglyphic in the UCS. This proposal was superseded by N1944, which was superseded by Unicode 5.2 (see below).

Concerning the order of the signs, the list closely follows the original publication by Gardiner (1957), even when the order is inconsistent with the numerical order of the names. However, there are some differences with Gardiner57:

The list contains 761 signs, excluding the codes for cartouches, transformation and positioning of signs, and shading.

Unicode 5.2

This sign list (from 2007-09-28 by Michael Everson), with 1071 signs, is part of N3349. For more explanation, see the earlier version N3237 (from 2007-04-10 by Michael Everson and Bob Richmond), with 1063 signs. These proposals supersede N1637 (1997) and N1944 (1999).

Apart from the signs from Gardiner's grammar, the list also contains a few signs proposed by Gardiner himself in other documents, and some sign groups for numerals from Möller's volumes on hieratic palaeography.

The list is now part of Unicode 5.2 in the range 13000-1342F. There is a free font and more information.


This is the "extended library" published on pp. 1117-1168 of the same publication as Hannig95A above. I implicitly assume every sign from Hannig95A is also a sign of Hannig95B.

Indicated are some sign names without accompanying signs, such as A 33b and A 64. These sign names are not part of the sign list.


This is the sign list in Part I of
N. Grimal, J. Hallof, and D. van der Plas. Hieroglyphica. Utrecht, Paris, 1993.
Note that D24 and D25 are not printed in order, but are given in the addendum on p. "1 D-7".

I count 4688 sign names in this list. However, some signs seem to have more than one name (e.g. B15A=B25; C12F=C14; M36A=M177A).


It seems that Hieroglyphica93-I does not include all signs it should have included. This pertains to each sign at the end of a sublist for one of the elements from {A, ..., Z, Aa}, with the exception of T and Z. The missing signs however do occur somewhere in part II.

We let Hieroglyphica93 denote the complete list of signs from Hieroglyphica (1993), consisting of those from Hieroglyphica93-I, and those that in addition occur somewhere in part II of the same publication, which are A476 (p. "2 A-10"), B86 (p. "2 B-3"), C262 (p. "2 C-1"), D350 (p. "2 D-5"), E200 (p. "2 E-4"), F156 (p. "2 N-3"), G265 (p. "2 G-2"), H37 (p. "2 H-1"), I102 (p. "2 I-3"), K26 (p. "2 K-1"), L28 (p. "2 L-1"), M209 (p. "2 M-4"), N114 (p. "2 N-4"), O262 (p. "2 O-1"), P97 (p. "2 P-2"), Q39 (p. "2 Q-1"), R108 (p. "2 R-2"), S175 (p. "2 S-6"), U119 (p. "2 U-1"), V114 (p. "2 V-2"), W99 (p. "2 W-3"), X12 (p. "2 X-2"), Y24 (p. "2 Y-2") and Aa70 (p. "2 Aa-1").

It is reported in the introduction of Hieroglyphica (1993) that the complete sign list includes 4706 signs. However, with the 24 additional signs that occur only in part II, I count 4688+24=4712 sign names.

It seems that Hieroglyphica93 is identical to Hannig95B except for the format of the names of the signs: in the case of Hieroglyphica93,


This is the sign list available as
As the indication "Extended Library, version 2, january 2000" suggests, this list is even more extended than Hieroglyphica93, and as far as I can see, this list includes all signs from Hieroglyphica93.


The proposal N1944 (from 1999-01-09 by Michael Everson) to include hieroglyphic in the UCS replaces the earlier proposal N1637 (see above). See also additional comments in document N2132. The proposal was superseded by Unicode 5.2.

In the order of Unicode numbers, the first 761 signs in the list are identical to the signs from N1637 and occur in the same order. This is followed by codes for cartouches, transformation and positioning of signs, and shading. Thereafter we find the signs that were not in N1637. It seems that the list includes all signs from Hieroglyphica93, but it omits redundant alternative names for signs.

The format of the names of the signs is identical to that of N1637, except that each number is padded with zeros to make it exactly 3 digits long.

There is one erratum: F039A should be F039.


This is the list of hieroglyphs on pp. 51-213 of
J. Buurman et al. Inventaire des signes hieroglyphiques en vue de leur saisie informatique. Institut de France, Paris, 1988.
the last printed version of what is commonly known as the `Manuel de Codage'. It seems to be roughly a subset of Hieroglyphica93, since the latter contains e.g. additional signs A359 thru A476. However, MdC88 also contains some signs not included in Hieroglyphica93 (see below).

We mention MdC88 for the sake of completeness, but it is of little importance since it is strewn with inaccuracies and ambiguities, most notably the following:


The EGPZ specification was proposed by Saqqara technology in June 2007. It is somewhat of an oxymoron in its ambition to obtain formal status while offering no verifiable justifications for including a particular subset of signs from existing lists, while creating total chaos by adopting and extending a parallel and competing list of Gardiner names to those from Unicode 5.2.