Encoding on the Internet

9: Unicode Web Pages

Here is how encoding schemes interact with a browser to produce a page with the correctly rendered script.

Declare Encoding

Properly encoded Web pages declare the encoding to a browser through a meta tag in the header.This meta tag instructs the browser to use an appropriate font for that script.

Some examples of the header tag are given below.


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


Unicode (Any Language)

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


NOTE: It IS good practice to declare the encoding even for an English Web site. One function of this is to tag is to "reset" the user’s browser back to back to the correct settings even if the viewer has been to a Webs site.

The Unicode utf-8 encoding also ensures that any special characters inserted such as "Smart quotes", currency symbols, em-dashes and so forth will be properly displayed.

Legacy Encoding

Most Web sites have moved to Unicode to maximize compatability across devices including phones and tablets, but if there is a reason to use a different encoding, it is recommended that the encoding be declared in a Web page.

However, there are applications to convert data between encodings that could be considered.

End of Tutorial

This is the last page of the introduction to encoding. For more information see the links below.

Unicode and Page Layout

As with any Web page, developers can use CSS to control text appearance in conjunction with different protocols for displaying text in different formats (e.g. right to left).

View the content in the Web Site tab for more information.

Unicode Beyond Web Pages

See information in the Software tab to see how Unicode is implemented in online tools and text in documents.

Unicode Standards in Depth

See the Unicode Links on the Unicode page of this tutorial for a set of in-depth links on the standard and implementation.

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