Zero-Width Joiner

In Persian, a letter written in isolation (not joined with the preceding or following letter) should revert to its "isolated" form. There are certain situations where it is desirable to override this natural behavior.  Of course, this discussion only concerns those letters which have different forms when connected and standing in isolation.

This space comes in handy when you want to write a date in the  hejri-ye shamsi or Solar Hijra system.


The ZWJ is also known as:

Unicode Character 'ZERO WIDTH JOINER':  (U+200D)
HTML Entity (decimal):  ‍
HTML Entity (hex): ‍
HTML Entity (named):  ‍
UTF-8 (hex):  e2808d
UTF-8 (binary):  11100010:10000000:10001101
UTF-16 (hex):  0x200D
UTF-16 (decimal):  8205
C/C++/Java source code:  "\u200D"

In case that's not enough info for you, check out

Here are 4 ways to type the Zero-Width Joiner:

1.  On Win2000 and WinXP only: Control+Shift+1 (This does not work in Word or other Office programs but works in Notepad and other Windows editing programs so if desperate, you can cut & paste!)

2.  Go Insert>Symbol>Special Character, then look for No-Width Non-Break or Zero-Width Joiner and either insert it or make a short-cut key. OR,

3.  Go Insert>Symbol, then change to whatever font you'd like, then type in 200D in the box as shown in the picture below.


Click image to enlarge.

4.  WindowsXP and OfficeXP: Make sure "Num Lock" (that's a key above the key pad) is on. Type "alt" plus the following numbers on the key pad: 8205


The best way to type ZWJ is to get yourself a new keyboard.


More examples illustrating the use of the Zero-Width Joiner:

Look how the Heh+ZWJ is used in Arabic lexicography to stand for the 3rd person suffix (haa):

This is taken from the Hans Wehr dictionary and I thank Giuliano Lancioni of the Università di Cagliari for this example.

You’ll need the ZWJ to write fancy poetry like this:

check out the word “kuntu” in the top line

Source:  Badi al-Zaman al-Hamadhani, 969-1008.  Maqamat [ed, by] Muhammad Abduh.  Beirut, al-Matbaah al-Kathulikiyah, [1889]

Most especially thanks on this one to Prof. Nicholas Heer and his 24-hour Arabic poetry crisis help line.


Here is a chart illustrating  ZWJ + PersianLetter + ZWJ in 3 fonts.  Also note this doesn't work with the still defective Times New Roman font for most letters.

One non-standard use of ZWJ--meaning don't try this on a website but it's ok for your printed documents--is that it can be used to disable ligatures. For example,

default lām + lām + heh has a shadda and superscript alif:


now watch that shadda and superscript alif disappear if you insert a zwj after the first lām:


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