Encoding Accented Characters in E-mail Subjects

To send an e-mail where the subject contains accented characters, encode the string like so:

Bonne id?e

...becomes...

=?iso-8859-1?q?Bonne id=E9e?=

The string starts with =?iso-8859-1?q? and ends with ?=. Then every character to be encoded starts with the = and the hex value for that character.

I don't recall ever having run into this problem before but this solution works. If you know of another way to send accented characters in a subject line, let me know.

Published March 30, 2005 · Updated September 17, 2005
Categorized as Servers
Short URL: https://snook.ca/s/351

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Ben Kennedy said on March 31, 2005

This technique works for other headers too (e.g. From) and is not limited to any particular character set. For example, try this:

m=?UTF-8?B?w6ljaGFudCDimaUgY8WTdXI=?=

which should render as:

méchant ♥ cœur

Check out RFCs 1342 and 2047.

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