Setting Unicode for Mail Clients


Sometimes you may have trouble with strange characters showing up in emails you send or receive. If that is the case, try setting your encoding to UTF-8 (Unicode). Instructions are below for a number of e-mail clients.

Apple Mail:

To set all messages to use UTF-8 encoding by default go to Applications -> Utilities and open Terminal. Copy the line below and hit Enter to execute:

defaults write NSPreferredMailCharset “UTF-8”

Web Based email Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail, etc. (via Internet Explorer):

  1. Internet Explorer  automatically selects the encoding for outgoing messages, based on an analysis of its content.
  2. If there is a problem select Tools from the Menu Toolbar.
  3. Click the Advanced tab and scroll down till you see Internationl*
  4. Check off Use UTF-8 for mailto links
  5. Click Apply and then OK

Web Based email Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail, etc. (via Safari):

  1. Open Safari Preferences
  2. Select Appearance tab
  3. Change Default Encoding to Unicode (UTF-8)

Web Based email Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail, etc. (via Chrome):

  1. Select the Wrench on the top right of the toolbar
  2. Select Options
  3. Select Under The Hood
  4. Select Customize fonts… under the Web Content section.
  5. Select UTF-8

Web Based email Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail, etc. (via Firefox):

  1. Open Tools in the menu bar and select Options
  2. In the Content tab select Advanced… under the Fonts & Colors section
  3. Go to Character Encoding and select Unicode (UTF-8) as the Default Charecter Encoding.
  4. Click OK twice.

Outlook Express 6.0:

  1. Open the Tools/Options menu. Then click on the Send tab.
  2. In the Sending section, click on the button for International Settings … 
  3. In the line Default Encoding, click on the button to the right of Western European (ISO). In the dropdown list of encodings that opens, move the cursor to Unicode (UTF-8) to highlight and select it by clicking on it.
  4. Click OK to change the default encoding to Unicode (UTF-8).
  5. Finally, in the Options window, click on the OK button to finish the process.Your outgoing messages will now automatically be sent in Unicode. You can even mix languages in your messages.

Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010:

  1. Select Tools in the tool bar. Select Options…
  2. Click on the Mail Format tab. Select the International Options… button.
  3. Under the Encoding Options section uncheck Auto select encoding for outgoing messages.  In the preferred encoding for outgoing messages drop down box select Unicode (UTF-8).
  4. Click <OK> twice.

Entourage 2004 & 2008:

Manually choosing to send the message using the Unicode format prior to sending. This is located on the Entourage Toolbar under Format -> Character Set -> Unicode (UTF-8)


  1. Click on the Gear at the top right corner next to you email address and select Mail settings
  2. Under the General tab go to the bottom and change Outgoing message encoding to: Use Unicode (UTF-8) encoding for outgoing messages
  3. Then click Save Changes> button at the bottom.


Pegasus Mail 4.41:

  1. Open the Tools/Options menu. The Pegasus Mail Preferences and Settings window opens.
  2. On the line Default MIME character set:, click on the button to the left of ISO-8859-1. A dropdown list of character sets opens.
  3. Move the cursor to UTF-8 to highlight, and click on it to select Unicode (UTF-8) as the default character set. Then click on the Apply button and finally the OK button to complete the process.Your outgoing messages will now automatically be sent in Unicode. You can even mix languages in your messages.

Eudora Mail 7.1:

  1. Open a new message window. Then in the message body, type in the following text: X-Eudora-Option:SendCharsetVery important: Hit the space bar.
  2. Press down on the Alt key, and click on X-Eudora-Option:SendCharset. The Change Option window opens.
  3. Manually enter UTF-8 to change the default character set to Unicode, or pick another encoding scheme of your choice.
  4. Click OK
  5. Then exit the message without saving it. The default character set is now Unicode.