How to Use Hexadecimal Unicode in Google Sheets

Using the hexadecimal Unicode value format, you can insert a wide range of characters into your Google Sheets document, including symbols, special characters, and emojis, allowing you to customize and enhance your spreadsheet presentations. However, converting these hexadecimal codes to their corresponding Unicode characters isn’t easy.

The CHAR function displays Unicode symbols, but that function requires a decimal code as input instead of a hexadecimal. We’ll figure out a way around that limitation.

Converting Hexadecimal to Decimal

We can work around this limitation by converting the signed hexadecimal number to a decimal number with the HEX2DEC function. Let’s look at an example:

Example 1 – Face Emoji

The first example should be an emoji because nothing says professional like the “face savoring food.” The Unicode website lists it as such:

Face Savoring Food Emoji

The code “U+1F60B” is a bit confusing. However, you can convert by dropping the “U+” and plugging the code into a formula like this:


The HEX2DEC function converts the signed hexadecimal value to a decimal value; then, the CHAR function displays that decimal value as the corresponding Unicode character.

The HEX2DEC function converting a code into a smiley emoji
Emoji in Google Sheets

Example 2 – Arrow

Now let’s insert an arrow from its signed hexadecimal value.

Arrow with Unicode information
Downwards Black Arrow

Let’s use the code “U+2B07” in the same formula as example 1.


Using CHAR and HEX2DEC to insert an arrow with signed hexadecimal code
Arrow in Google Sheets

This formula brings the downwards black arrow into the sheet.

Using an Add-On

You can use the Insert Special Characters add-on developed by Sheets Help to eliminate the need for formulas. You can search by the signed hexadecimal code or the characters name.

Live Example in Google Sheets

You can use the examples from this article by making a copy of this Google Sheet.