I am using FME 2014 in order to manipulate some shape files. When I load and inspect the content of the shapes file, I get the following problem:

Although all the greek characters of the content is shown correctly (in UTF-8), the titles of each column (seeing in data inspector) are not recognized. A similar problem I had some time ago with an excel file which had content in greek. In that case also I could see the content of the excel cells but I could see the names of the tabs (sheets). Back then it was enough to rename the sheets to latin characters but now I don't have this luxury (some hundreds of shape files).

What is the issue here? Is there some internal encoding properties in FME? I see I have the same problem in FME 2015.

2 Answers 2


Load your shapefile into Workbench and go to the advanced setting and select Character Encoding and change to UTF-8

Here is a quick example using FME Desktop 2015.1.2

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  • Thanks for the answer. This actually doesn't solve the problem. I tried it but the encoding is already set to utf-8. Actually this is the same parameter I set when I import the shape file.
    – user1919
    Sep 25, 2015 at 6:18
  • The problem is even greater than the above mention. I try to import a shapefile with greek characters and FME can not read it correctly. In the directory field it shows question marks instead of greek characters and its impossible to load it!
    – user1919
    Sep 25, 2015 at 7:10
  • is the shapefile publicly available? It is hard to diagnose without the source file you can submit (workspaces/data) to knowledge.safe.com/knowledgeSubmitCase and they can help
    – Mapperz
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:01

I have contacted FME support and this is their answer:

"Thank you for contacting Safe Software's support group. Unfortunately this is a known issue for Shape files created with ArcGIS."

As a workaround I used the transformer: AttributeRenamer. Its a bit of a manual work but if you do it once and all your shape files have the same naming then you are fine.

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