Letter tricks for Facebook

Written by clare edwards
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Letter tricks for Facebook
Customise your Facebook experience with symbols and ASCII art. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Facebook doesn't allow images, different fonts or HTML tags in some text fields. You can get around this by using ASCII art -- pictures and decorative text made from keyboard characters -- and Unicode symbols in place of fancy fonts. You can make these yourself; the process is tricky to learn and time-consuming, however. For ASCII art, it's easier to use an online library. For Unicode symbol text tricks, there are converters.

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Emoticons

Emoticons use letters, numbers and punctuation to make facial expressions, doodles or symbols. Smileys that use letters include a big grin :-D and a poking tongue ;-p. Symbols that use letters include the symbol for crayons [{--Crayon--]}>. You can use emoticons in your Facebook status updates and in chat, where some letter smileys, such as the grin and poking tongue smileys above, are converted into small graphics.

Facebook Status Decorations

You can decorate your status with little pieces of text art using letters and other symbols. Symmetrical text art decorations can be used to bookend status messages, like so: O.o°<)>>>= Your Facebook Status =<<<(>°o.O. Because they are small and decorative, Unicode letters may be used in this kind of decoration. Facebook helpfully converts some text strings into symbols automatically; <3 becomes a heart, for example. These can be combined with letters to make decorative Facebook status updates.

ASCII Art

Large pieces of ASCII art such as portraits are not suitable for use in Facebook status messages -- they're too big. They work well as notes or to decorate your Facebook profile, however. You can find online libraries of ASCII art organised by subject, such as the ASCII Art Dictionary website. You can also make your own ASCII art using online generators or an ASCII text editor like JavE.

Unicode Fonts

Technically, you can't change your font on Facebook. If you change the display font for your browser, the letters look different to you -- but not to anyone reading your Facebook page on a different computer. What you can do, however, is use Unicode symbols in place of letters. Unicode contains letter-like symbols such as enclosed letters or letters in foreign alphabets. If you only want to use one or two characters, you can use alt codes (number codes typed in while holding the left alt key) or copy and paste individual letters from Unicode map sites. If you want longer text strings, it's much easier to use a text generator site. One such collection is Textozor, which offers Unicode text generators including upside-down letters and spooky Zalgo text. Other sites offer pipe text and giant text generators like Facebook Symbols' Carty and Tarty.

Considerations

Decorative letter tricks can be fun but you should take care what message you are sending out. Your friends may think your ASCII bunnies are cute; a potential employer may not share their opinion.

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