specifies the default raw character encoding to use for input and output functions.


  • The default setting for $CharacterEncoding is $SystemCharacterEncoding.
  • The setting $CharacterEncoding=None takes all special characters to be represented externally by printable ASCII sequences such as \[Name] and \:nnnn.
  • $CharacterEncodings gives a list of all installed character encodings.
  • Typical examples include:
  • "AdobeStandard"Adobe standard PostScript font encoding
    "ASCII"full ASCII, with control characters
    "EUC"extended Unix code for Japanese
    "ISOLatin1"ISO 8859-1 standard
    "ISOLatin2"ISO 8859-2 standard
    "ISOLatin3"ISO 8859-3 standard
    "ISOLatin4"ISO 8859-4 standard
    "ISOLatinCyrillic"ISO 8859-5 standard
    "MacintoshRoman"Macintosh roman font encoding
    "PrintableASCII"printable ASCII
    "ShiftJIS"shift-JIS encoding of JIS X 0208-1990 and extensions
    "Symbol"symbol font encoding
    "Unicode"raw 16-bit Unicode (with +1 byte ordering)
    "UTF-8"Unicode transformation format
    "WindowsANSI"Windows standard font encoding
    "ZapfDingbats"Zapf dingbats font encoding
  • With characters that are included in the encoding can be input in their raw 8- or 16-bit form, and will be output in this form.
  • Unencoded characters can be input and will be output in standard \[Name] or \:nnnn form.
  • When using a text-based interface, resetting the value of $CharacterEncoding has an immediate effect on standard input and output in a Mathematica session.
  • When using the notebook front end, raw character encodings are normally handled automatically based on the fonts you use. Only raw 16-bit Unicode is ever sent through the MathLink connection to the kernel.
  • $CharacterEncoding affects the input and output of all characters, including those in symbol names and comments.
  • $CharacterEncoding also affects characters that appear in Text primitives within graphics.
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