I'm using shapefiles with encoding UTF-8 that were used in ArcGIS before. The German umlaut ( ¨ ) are shown as a question mark. In Layer Properties -> Source -> Settings the encoding is set to UTF-8. Do I have to make additional settings so that I can see German umlaut?

  • 1
    Have you opened the *.cpg file in a text editor to make sure the encoding is utf-8?
    – BERA
    Sep 6, 2021 at 13:33
  • 2
    That they show as question marks indicates that they were set to the wrong encoding when saving the file. Otherwise an ü would be shown as ü. So the information is lost completely. You need access to the original source to fix this: Before saving the data to shapefile, make sure the correct encoding is chosen.
    – MrXsquared
    Sep 6, 2021 at 13:41
  • 3
    have you tried latin encoding? Sometimes switching helpes.
    – Erik
    Sep 6, 2021 at 13:43
  • MRXsqaured what do you mean by original source?
    – geofee
    Sep 6, 2021 at 14:11
  • 1
    Prepare a small dataset for testing and share it.
    – user30184
    Sep 8, 2021 at 10:00

2 Answers 2


If ü is being shown as ü you actually have Windows 1252 encoding not UTF-8. They overlap for some chars but not all. See https://string-functions.com/encodingtable.aspx?encoding=65001&decoding=1252 for a table of values


I had the same issue. In my case it helped switch to Windows-1250.

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