Windows Code Pages

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In computing, code pages are used to define the characters and symbols that can be created. The original code page is called ASCII. Today there are many different code pages available and in use.

Windows supports all legacy code pages as well as the new standard Unicode tables.

Here is a list of all OEM, ANSI, and ISO code pages currently supported by Windows.

OEM Code Pages in Windows

437 (US)
720 (Arabic)
737 (Greek)
775 (Baltic)
850 (Multilingual Latin I)
852 (Latin II)
855 (Cyrillic)
857 (Turkish)
858 (Multilingual Latin I + Euro)
862 (Hebrew)
866 (Russian)
874 (Thai)
932 (Japanese Shift-JIS)
936 (Simplified Chinese GBK)
949 (Korean)
950 (Traditional Chinese Big5)
1258 (Vietnam)

To find out which OEM code page is active on your system, launch Command Prompt from Start > All Programs > Accessories.

In the Command Prompt window, type and enter:

Command Prompt will output the currently active OEM code page, like this:

active-oem-code-page

Active OEM Code Page

To change the active OEM code page, use the chcp command followed by the numeric code of the code page (from the above list) you wish to activate.

For example, to set your OEM code page to Cyrillic, use this command:

ANSI Code Pages in Windows

Single Byte Character Set Code Pages:
874 (Thai)
1250 (Central Europe)
1251 (Cyrillic)
1252 (Latin I)
1253 (Greek)
1254 (Turkish)
1255 (Hebrew)
1256 (Arabic)
1257 (Baltic)
1258 (Vietnam)

Double Byte Character Set Code Pages:
932 (Japanese Shift-JIS)
936 (Simplified Chinese GBK)
949 (Korean)
950 (Traditional Chinese Big5)

It is only possible to encode 2^8 = 256 characters with one byte. However, with two bytes the number of possible characters rises enormously to 2^16 = 65,536 characters.

This is why double byte character sets are created to support languages that contain a large number of characters or unique symbols.

To select an ANSI code page, set your keyboard language and system locale according to the steps listed in my previous post.

ISO Code Pages in Windows

ISO-8859-1 (Latin 1)
ISO-8859-2 (Latin 2)
ISO-8859-3 (Latin 3)
ISO-8859-4 (Baltic)
ISO-8859-5 (Cyrillic)
ISO-8859-6 (Arabic)
ISO-8859-8 (Hebrew)
ISO-8859-9 (Turkish)
ISO-8859-15 (Latin 9)

ISO code pages in Windows are mostly the same as their ANSI super-sets.

However, ISO code pages also have their specific Windows codes:
28591 = ISO-8859-1 (Latin 1)
28592 = ISO-8859-2 (Latin 2)
28593 = ISO-8859-3 (Latin 3)
28594 = ISO-8859-4 (Baltic)
28595 = ISO-8859-5 (Cyrillic)
28596 = ISO-8859-6 (Arabic)
28598 = ISO-8859-8 (Hebrew)
28599 = ISO-8859-9 (Turkish)
28605 = ISO-8859-15 (Latin 9)

Manually Selecting the Code Page

In some programs, such as Notepad++, it is very easy and visually straightforward to choose the correct code page, be it OEM, ANSI, ISO, or Unicode:

notepad-plus-plus-encoding

Notepad++ Encoding

To learn more about the different layers of internationalization that Windows utilizes, check out this link.

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