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I’m Dudley Storey, the author of Pro CSS3 Animation. This is my blog, where I talk about web design and development with , and . To receive more information, including news, updates, and tips, you should follow me on Twitter or add me on Google+.

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UTF-8: the key to languages, characters and glyphs on web pages

html / typography

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 9 seconds

While the majority of typographic control for web pages – font selection, leading, kerning, hyphenation and more – is the realm of , there are some basic character elements that are the responsibility of HTML, the basis of which is character encoding in UTF-8 formatting.

Throughout this blog I emphasize “use UTF-8 in web pages”. We specify we are using UTF-8 in several places:

UTF-8 is a character encoding scheme: a format that decides how characters are encoded in a document. (Note that this is different from, but intertwined with, font selection – the choice of typeface used). Put in very simple terms, utf-8 allows us to use any character from any language in a document, along with a wide variety of glyphs (symbols) and punctuation, including many that are not on your keyboard.

Some of these typographic symbols are subtle: a true left opening quote (“), which is different from the character generated by your keyboard ("), an em-dash (–) from an en-dash (-). They do make an important difference in your document, contributing to a well-presented page.

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