How to change Character Encoding in Outlook

Quite often, when a sender sends a mail to us via Outlook, we do not see the message but some unreadable characters. If you regularly see some strange or incorrect characters in your Outlook mail, this short tutorial will help you to resolve the problem. When you type something on a keyboard, a computer recognizes it via a complex process called encoding. It then displays the relevant characters on screen. So, it is this character encoding which acts as a key in determining which values correspond to which characters.

The visual representation of these characters is referred to as Glyph. Different sets of it constitute a ‘Font’. So, when you type a line or write a paragraph and change its font, you’re not changing the phonetic values of the letters but just the appearance of it. Any mismatch in the process could lead to the rendering of the text as unreadable.

Change Character Encoding in Outlook

Changing the encoding on a message could help you view the characters properly. Fortunately, the process is quite easy in Outlook. To do so,

Open the desired message, double click to open it up.

Navigate to the ‘Home’ tab of the opened message and choose ‘Actions’ > ‘Other Actions’.

After that, select ‘Encoding’ to see what encoding is currently in use.

The recommendation for email formats is UTF-8. If you find that the message from the sender is using another format such as ‘Western European’ to encode its mails, change it.

Click ‘More’ and then select the encoding you want, such as UTF-8. Hereafter, you should be able to read the email.

How to change Character Encoding in Outlook

Although it is not mandatory and you can change the default outgoing encoding to any type, Western European is considered as a subset of UTF-8. As such it can be read using UTF-8.

If you want other people or individuals to be able to read your messages without any hassles, it’s best to keep it as Western European or changing to a globally used encoding like UTF-8.

Hope you find this tip useful.

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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in bio-technology and has an immense interest in following Windows, Office and other technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.

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