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I have a shape file with names for Regions. These don't seem to contain special characters but ugly hyroglyphes. What can I do do display them correctly. If I import the shape as UTF-8 it doesn't work...

Also the Names are in a dbase table. So is it possible to save a dbase table in utf8 or is there a different way of dealing with it

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One way that worked for me: – Cao Minh Tu Mar 9 '13 at 1:21
up vote 10 down vote accepted

enter image description here

try opening the dbase-file with libreoffice (or openoffice) and try different encodings, if utf-8 doesnot work try iso-8859-1 and look if the chars öäüß are displayed correctly

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Your shapefile is most probably in UTF-8, but qgis 1.8.0 has a bug in correct encoding of shapefiles. Until this is solved, you can try this workaround in Windows:

Browse to C:\Programs\Quantum GIS Lisboa\bin on Windows XP or C:\Programs (x86)\Quantum GIS Lisboa\bin on Windows 7. Look for qgis.bat and open it with a suitable editor (I have installed notepad++ for such things). After line 1, insert:


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Thanks this helped – Stefan Aug 1 '13 at 8:16

No I solved the problem: I opened the dbf file in LibreOffice as UTF8, put in the special characters and saved it. That was it. Very simple!

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sounds like @Kurt solved your problem. Please consider marking his answer as correct to close this question. – RyanDalton Aug 22 '12 at 23:15
Yes, I used the same method when facing the problems with destroyed Czech characters - used the same Libreoffice spreadsheet to produce the source CSV for my layer and after saving the layer as SHP, I saved the data from LibreOffice as UTF8 DBF table and simply replaced the DBF in tha shapefile with this one. However, the UTF8 bug is really annoying. – Juhele Feb 15 '13 at 16:51

Unfortunately Excel 2010 and above won't save to DBF formaat any longer so I went the route of adding "SET SHAPE_ENCODING=UTF-8" to the qgis.bat file which worked fine.

I wanted to avoid installing a whole other office suite.

Editing the batch file worked great and now with qGIS the special characters carried right through to .kml and showed up in Google Earth.

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