ISO/IEC 10646:2011 specifies the Universal Coded Character Set (UCS). It is applicable to the representation, transmission, interchange, processing, storage, input and presentation of the written form of the languages of the world as well as additional symbols. It covers over 109 000 characters from the world's scripts.
- specifies the architecture of ISO/IEC 10646;
- defines terms used ISO/IEC 10646;
- describes the general structure of the UCS codespace;
- specifies the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP) of the UCS;
- specifies supplementary planes of the UCS: the Supplementary Multilingual Plane (SMP), the Supplementary Ideographic Plane (SIP), the Tertiary Ideographic Plane (TIP), and the Supplementary Special-purpose Plane (SSP);
- defines a set of graphic characters used in scripts and the written form of languages on a world-wide scale;
- specifies the names for the graphic characters and format characters of the BMP, SMP, SIP, TIP, SSP and their coded representations within the UCS codespace;
- specifies the coded representations for control characters and private use characters;
- specifies three encoding forms of the UCS: UTF-8, UTF-16, and UTF-32;
- specifies seven encoding schemes of the UCS: UTF-8, UTF-16, UTF-16BE, UTF-16LE, UTF-32, UTF-32BE, and UTF-32LE;
- specifies the management of future additions to this coded character set.
The UCS is an encoding system different from that specified in ISO/IEC 2022. ISO/IEC 10646:2011 specifies the method to designate UCS from ISO/IEC 2022.
A graphic character will be assigned only one code point in the standard, located either in the BMP or in one of the supplementary planes.
By defining a consistent way of encoding multilingual text, ISO/IEC 10646:2011 enables the exchange of data internationally. The information technology industry gains data stability, greater global interoperability and data interchange. ISO/IEC 10646:2011 has been widely adopted in new Internet protocols and implemented in modern operating systems and computer languages.