FIX: Browser not displaying special characters

Tashreef Shareef
by Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
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  • There are over 200 million active websites on the Internet each targeting different niches and competing with others to offer visitors the best possible answer to their queries.
  • When your browser doesn't recognize Unicode data, it will simply replace special characters with dots. Granted, that's not a nice browsing experience.
  • If your browser fails to display special characters, follow the steps listed below to fix it. This guide is part of our larger collection of troubleshooting guides dedicated to browsers.
  • It's always best to have the right solutions at the tip of your fingers. Bookmark our hub dedicated to browsers for additional guides.
Browser not showing special characters fix

All the modern web browsers try to incorporate all the latest web technologies to offer a smooth browsing experience to the users. However, sometimes you may notice your browser not displaying special characters when a visiting a website.

When the website fails to recognize the Unicode data, it will simply replace it with dots. Most of the time these dotted characters include special characters such as `, • — “ ” ‘ ’.

Troubleshooting browser not displaying special characters issue is easier than you think. Follow the steps in this article to view Unicode and special characters in your web browser.

How to view special characters in a web browser

1. Update your browser

  1. This problem seems to have affected earlier Google Chrome versions.
  2. Best way to fix this issue is to update your Google Chrome web browser.
  3. Open Google Chrome.
  4. Click on Menu ( three horizontal bars, top right corner).
  5. Go to Help > About Google Chrome.
  6. Google Chrome will check for any pending update. If not, manually check for the update.
  7. Click on Update Now to download and install the latest version of Google Chrome.
  8. Relaunch Chrome and check if the browser can display special characters.

Update Firefox

  1. If you are using Firefox, here is how to update the browser.
  2. Open Firefox.
  3. Click the Menu icon (three horizontal bars).
  4. Go to Help > About Firefox.
  5. Click the Update Now button to download and install the latest version of Firefox.
  6. Relaunch Firefox and check if the browser not displaying special characters issue is fixed.

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2. Try UR browser

UR browser download

  1. In case the issue persists, even after updating Google Chrome to the latest version, download another browser to check if the issue is with the website.
  2. You can try UR Browser. It is a popular browser with the best privacy features including a built-in ad-blocker as well as VPN.
  3. It is a lightweight browser and uses fewer computer resources.
  4. After installing the UR browser, visit the website that not displaying special characters and check if the issue is resolved.
  5. If you can view the special characters now, the issue probably is due to Google Chrome.

3. Use Set Character Encoding extension

  1. The latest version of Google Chrome does not come with manual encoding options. However, if you still want to use the manual encoding in Chrome, use Set Character Encoding extension.
  2. This extension offers right-click Menu to manually set character encoding for web pages.
  3. Install Set Character Encoding extension for Chrome. This will also work with Microsoft Edge (Chromium) browser.
  4. It is a little bizarre that Google chose to get away with manual encoding in favor of an auto-encoding making the developers install third-party extensions.

4. Uninstall and reinstall the browser

  1. If the issue persists, even after installing the latest version of the web browser, try reinstallation.
  2. Press Windows Key + R to open Run.
  3. Type control and click OK.
  4. Go to Program > Programs and Features.Programs and Features
  5. Select your browsers like Chrome or Firefox.
  6. Click on Uninstall.
  7. Once done, download the latest version of the browser from the official website.

Conclusion 

The browser not displaying special characters issue mostly occurs on an older version of browsers. Follow the steps in this article to fix them on your computer.

FAQ: Learn more about special characters

  • How many special characters are there?

There are 33 ASCII special characters, 93 Latin-1 supplement special characters, and 48 Unicode symbols. All these can be put under the special character umbrella.

  • What special characters are allowed in passwords?

The following special characters are allowed in passwords: space, exclamation, double quote, number sign, dollar sign, percent sign, ampersand, single quote, left and right parentheses, asterisk, plus, comma, minus, full stop, slash, colon, semicolon, less and greater than, equal sign, question mark, the at sign, left and right brackets, backslash, caret, underscore, grave accent, left and right brace, vertical bar, and the tilde. Keep in mind that certain tools, software or operating systems may not support all of these special characters.

  • How do you write special characters?

Special characters are written using a combination of keyboard keys. The ALT key is often used in combination with other keys to type special characters.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has since been updated for freshness and accuracy.