ProActive HowTo :: Odd characters in your content : Â, Ï¿½, â&8364;œ

Odd characters can sometimes appear in your web pages - mostly these show up as a ?. The reason for this is due to the fact that the browser does not understand the character it is trying to display and therefore displays the ?.

There are a number of reasons why these odd characters can appear in your work.
  1. Copying and pasting directly from some web pages
  2. Copying and pasting from MSWord, Excell, Powerpoint or other Microsoft applications.
  3. VISTA users - having additional keyboards loaded
Repairing these odd characters in the first 2 instances above can be done by opening the article in the editor and removing the character or retype the character, then save the article - make sure you view the page to ensure you have removed all instances.

Vista users - to Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Change keyboards or other input methods. From the resulting dialog click "Change keyboards". Ensure there is only one keyboard and that is either US or English.

see also Copying from MS Word and other web pages

Microsoft Word making weird characters in your article?

You have created a new article, carefully copied it into editor, pressed the Save button, and then visited the page to check your work - only to find weird characters throughout.

You may find odd characters or question marks or other gibberish characters such as strange accented A's strewn about your article, but whatever they are, they┴ are┴ certáinly not┴ welcome┴.

A closer inspection reveals that the weird characters have replaced quotation marks, apostrophes, dashes, indentation, copyright, degrees and other special characters. One cause of this is writing and formatting in Microsoft Word before copy/pasting into ProActive Ś if Word is set to use "smart quotes" (curly quotes). Unfortunately, while Microsoft Word is great for writing, it's a word processing program - meaning that it's output is intended for print. And printer characters such as smart quotes have no direct Web translation, so they get replaced by weird characters.

Web browsers use a set of standard fonts so that your output can be displayed properly on a website.

When you see content containing trademark symbols and other gibberish in place of apostrophes (or similar gibberish), you now know how that came to be: copy/pasting from Microsoft Word without turning off "smart quotes".

How to turn off Smart Quotes in Microsoft Word

You can fix this on future articles by turning off smart quotes in Word:
* On the Tools menu:
click AutoCorrect Options, and then click the AutoFormat As You Type tab

* Under Replace as You Type:
select or clear the "Straight quotes" with "smart quotes" check box

Then, before you cut/paste into ProActive, make sure there are no curly quotes in the document; if there are, just use Search/Replace to replace them with straight quotes.

see also Adding special characters to your work