Text Encoding Issues and International Characters

As long as you only use the standard core English character set (“ASCII”) without any special characters, you’ll probably not come across this, but as soon as you use international characters, accents, umlauts etc or even “standard stuff” like typographic quotes, this topic will come up, and you may find that some characters in your songs don’t look as you expect them to:

The reason for this is usually Character Encoding. If you weren’t aware of it: there are different ways to code characters digitally – for more details see this article.

The character encoding that Android apps expect is Unicode 8-bit, short called UTF-8. Unfortunately, when you create text documents on a Windows PC or a Mac, they will be encoded with a different character set. For example, on my machine, that will be “Windows 1252”, which is an encoding standard for the Western European character range (see the marked area at the bottom of this screen shot of my default editor, EditPad Pro):

When synchronizing this song file to LivePrompter, the result will be disappointing, as shown above. So I need to re-encode my song with the correct encoding. EditPad Pro can help me with that:

Now I just need to save my file again, and the result will be much better:

Note: you don’t need to buy EditPad Pro for this – there is a free version called EditPad Lite that can do this conversion as well. Also the trusty and popular Notepad++ can do this conversion easily:

So just remember: when you get these funky question-mark characters in your songs, it will probably be a character set issue – convert your songs to UTF-8 and all should be good!