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Want to be able to write basic Charcoal quickly? Then read on. If you came here looking for help, scroll to the bottom for the FAQ.

Example REPL session

To use the REPL, simply invoke with ./, python or python3

Charcoal> Hello, World!  
Hello, World!
Charcoal> ^C
Cleared canvas


There are two basic types of literals: strings and numbers. A string is just a run of printable ASCII, and a number is just a run of the superscript digits ⁰¹²³⁴⁵⁶⁷⁸⁹.

Examples: foo is equivalent to "foo".
foo¶bar is the same as "foo\nbar".
¹²³⁴ is 1234.


In a Charcoal program, expressions are implicitly printed. Numbers print a line, and arrows can be used to specify a direction.

Examples: foo prints foo
foo⁴ prints foo----
foo↖⁴ prints:



  • When I run Charcoal it throws some errors about UTF-8 characters and exits.
    • Maybe you don't have Python 3 installed. Try installing Python 3 from here.
  • When I run Charcoal it throws some errors and exits.
    • If the message comes with a stack trace, it looks like you have found a bug. File a bug report here, and we'll come back to you as soon as we can.