HTML Charset

HTML Encoding (Character Sets)


To display an HTML page correctly, a web browser must know which character set to use.

What is Character Encoding?

ASCII was the first character encoding standard (also called character set). ASCII defined 128 different alphanumeric characters that could be used on the internet: numbers (0-9), English letters (A-Z), and some special characters like ! $ + – ( ) @ < > .

ISO-8859-1 was the default character set for HTML 4. This character set supported 256 different character codes.

ANSI (Windows-1252) was the original Windows character set. ANSI is identical to ISO-8859-1, except that ANSI has 32 extra characters.

Because ANSI and ISO-8859-1 were so limited, HTML 4 also supported UTF-8.

UTF-8 (Unicode) covers almost all of the characters and symbols in the world.

The default character set for HTML5 is UTF-8.

The HTML charset Attribute

To display an HTML page correctly, a web browser must know the character set used in the page.

This is specified in the <meta> tag:

<meta charset=”UTF-8″>

If a browser detects ISO-8859-1 in a web page, it defaults to ANSI.

The ASCII Character Set

ASCII uses the values from 0 to 31 (and 127) for control characters.

ASCII uses the values from 32 to 126 for letters, digits, and symbols.

ASCII does not use the values from 128 to 255

The ANSI Character Set (Windows-1252)

ANSI is identical to ASCII for the values from 0 to 127.

ANSI has a proprietary set of characters for the values from 128 to 159.

ANSI is identical to UTF-8 for the values from 160 to 255.

The ISO-8859-1 Character Set

8859-1 is identical to ASCII for the values from 0 to 127.

8859-1 does not use the values from 128 to 159.

8859-1 is identical to UTF-8 for the values from 160 to 255.

The UTF-8 Character Set

UTF-8 is identical to ASCII for the values from 0 to 127.

UTF-8 does not use the values from 128 to 159. 

UTF-8 is identical to both ANSI and 8859-1 for the values from 160 to 255.

UTF-8 continues from the value 256 with more than 10 000 different characters.

The @charset CSS Rule

You can use the CSS @charset rule to specify the character encoding used in a style sheet:

Set the encoding of the style sheet to Unicode UTF-8:

@charset “UTF-8”;