Default Unicode Encoding

In the most recent versions of Dreamweaver the default encoding has been set to utf-8 (Unicode).

In that case all you have to do is switch keyboards or insert characters as in any other document.

Note: All the proper keyboards and fonts must be installed and activated for each script.

Change Encoding

To change the encoding of a legacy page to Unicode:

  1. In the Dreamweaver menu, go to Modify : Page Properties.
  2. In the Page Properties window, click the Title/Encoding option on the left.
  3. Select the appropriate encoding, then click the Reload button.

Type Encoded Text Directly into Dreamweaver

For most scripts, you can type directly into Dreamweaver by switching your
Keyboards for any scripts you wish to use must first be installed
and activated. See the Languages section for more details on a specific language.

Note: If switching keyboards does not work, then open the code view and make sure the encoding meta
is set correctly.

Accents and Special Characters

You can use accent codes and utilities with Dreamweaver as well. See the Accents page for information on specific tools.

Add and Edit Language Tag

You will probably need access to the HTML code view to accomplish this efficiently.

Add Language Tag to a Document

  1. Click Split or Code at the upper left of the Dreamweaver document window to access the HTML code.
  2. Look for the initial <html> tag near the top of the document. This is where you should add the lang="" attribute as well as the xml:lang="" attribute for XHTML. A sample document XHTML tagged for U.S. English (en-US) is shown below.

    <html xmlns="" xml:lang="en-US" lang="en-US">

  3. For other languages, a list of ISO-639-2 language tags is available at the Library of Congress.
    Note: If both a two-letter
    code and a three-letter code are available, use the shorter two letter code.

Add/Edit Language Tag in Code View

Language tags can be added in the HTML code view following the guidelines on the Language Tag page.

Wrap tag window showing  the tag i lang = f r

Add Language Tag in Tag Editor

You can also highlight a word or phrase and use the tag editor in the Properties window to insert a language tag.

  1. Open the Properties window from the Window menu.
  2. In the Design view, highlight a word or phrase.
  3. Click the Quick Tag Editor icon on the right.
  4. Enter an appropriate tag (e.g. i,b,span) and add the lang="" attribute.

Edit Tag in Design View

  1. Highlight a piece of text to be tagged.
  2. At the bottom of the page, select the tag corresponding to the text.
  3. Right click the tag and select the option for Quick Tag Editor.
  4. Add or edit the lang attribute as needed.

Change Default Font

If you are using a font which doesn’t include the characters you need, follow the procedure below to change your fonts in Dreamweaver.

Change Default Fonts

  1. Open Dreamweaver, then under the Edit menu, choose Preferences
    (Dreamweaver : Preferences in Mac) to open the Preferences window.
  2. In the Category menu to the left, select Fonts or Fonts/Encoding.
    Dreamweaver Screencapture
    Fonts Preferences from Dreamweaver
  3. In the Font Settings menu to the right, choose an appropriate script (e.g. "Cyrillic"). Be careful not to choose Default Encoding.
    Note: Although not all scripts are listed, Dreamweaver can actually import encoded text for other scripts.
  4. Select an appropriate font which matches that script from the Proportional Font, Fixed and HTML Inspector dropdown menus. Click OK to shut the window.
    Note: For the Unicode font, you may want specify a font which covers the target range of characters you are intersted in.
  5. Open a document which is encoded in a non-English script. The characters should be in that script, even in the HTML Source window.
  6. For some scripts, you can switch keyboards and type directly in that language.

Potential Pitfalls

  1. Make sure file declares the encoding within the HTML HEAD tag; otherwise the keyboard may not work.The Unicode declaration is given below:

    <meta  http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

  2. Avoid specifying specific fonts for a script as some alternative browsers and platforms may not be able to read the page (the encoding should be enough to trigger the font changes). If specific fonts must be specified, then make sure both Window and Macintosh equivalents are specified.
  3. When opening HTML files exported from a text editor, inspect the code to be sure it does not include vendor-specific tags which may not work on all browsers.
  4. For languages whose encoding systems are not widely supported by browsers, the text editor and Dreamweaver can still be used to develop the web page, but you will need to take extra steps to provide information on recommended browsers and fonts.


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