I have a problem with QGIS and MapInfo, in both Windows XP and Windows 7. I need to use French and Arabic. One field is called Name_fr, and the other Name_AR. The Arabic is fine until the moment I save the table, and all the characters turn into question marks.


2 Answers 2


This issue came up with improvements to GDAL's handling of encoding. It was discussed here on the qgis maillist. There are some suggested workarounds in that dicussion. I'm sure a permananet solution will appear soon, but what I found solves the problem fro now is the suggestion by Even Rouault:

First you need to have all the text attributes in your shapefile encoded as UTF-8. THen add to the batch file that starts QGIS (usually OSGEO4W\bin\qgis.bat) one line to set an enviroment variable:


With that, you can then save text strings (in my case in hebrew, but I suppose Arabic will be the same) without it getting turned into question marks.


On Mac you can open a Terminal app and run:

$ SHAPE_ENCODING=UTF-8 /Applications/QGIS.app/Contents/MacOS/QGIS


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