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Re: notebook font encoding

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg64205] Re: [mg64189] notebook font encoding
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 02:49:04 -0500 (EST)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Mathematica notebooks (which is to say the modern .nb format...I'm assuming 
you're not dealing with the very old .ma file format) are written in a 
neutral character encoding that fully represents plane 0 Unicode.  I can 
think of a couple of cases where exceptions slip through, but in general, 
you shouldn't see these kinds of problems and the setting of 
$SystemCharacterEncoding should be irrelevant for purposes of exchanging 
notebook files.

The exceptions I can think of are...

* PostScript graphics do not contain Unicode representations, and could 
render differently between Windows and Mac for some European-only 
characters.  Graphics will not suffer from this problem in the next 
release, incidentally.

* If the notebook contains a style that specifically indicates a character 
encoding contrary to the normal one being used.  This is rare, and you'd 
probably know if you'd done this.

* If there's a bug in Mathematica's encoding mapping tables.  For example, 
earlier versions of Mathematica for Windows were missing the mapping tables 
for Cyrillic, and so would write improper Cyrillic notebook files even 
though everything looked correct as you typed it.

If the problem is in graphics, you'll just have to suffer the limitation 
for now (or just re-evaluate the affected graphics on the system you're on 
now, which ought to fix the problem), but if it's elsewhere, feel free to 
send me a sample notebook you're having problems with and I'll be happy to 
take a look at it to see how it came to be.  And please be clear as to what 
the problem is...since I don't read Italian, I won't be able to spot the 
error without some help.


John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

On Sat, 4 Feb 2006 04:13:44 -0500 (EST), Gianluca Gorni wrote:
> Hello!
> I have received a notebook written with Mathematica presumably on
> an Italian Windows machine. Displaying it on my Macintosh I get many
> accented letters wrong (some look right, though).
> I tried opening it with OpenSpecial with Latin1 and other encoding,
> but I couldn't get the display right.
> Does anybody know what the $SystemCharacterEncoding is for Italian
> Windows machines?
> Is it possible that a notebook edited on two different machines at
> different times gets a mixture of encodings?
> Best regards,
> Gianluca Gorni

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