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How should I set my email encoding?

Knowledge Article Number 000005102

Encoding standards tell the web browser or email application how to interpret the text characters in your HTML or the body of the email, such as an outbound e-mail sent from Salesforce application. The most popular character sets are UTF-8 and ISO-8859-1.

You can actually see the encoding character set in the email header. Here is a section of an email header (notice the Content-Type value):


Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 12:45:55 -0700
Subject: UTF-8
Message-ID: <>
X-Priority: 3
X-Mailer: zMailer 5.0.0
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"

Below you would see an example how the same characters are displayed differently with different type of character encoding


UTF-8 Characters: ö ü ä
UTF-8 Chinese: 激 光 這
HTML Entity Characters: &#28450; &#23383;

Result with both character set encoding

User-added image

Also we have seen in many customer cases that the wrong encoding type could cause the attachments not to go through for emails using the Email to Case.
For instance, in scenarios where there is a 3rd party application or another messaging systems that generates emails with attachments (Such as a fax system or a voice mail system that attaches the saved voice mail to an email) then forwards them to an Email to Case routing address to create cases and save the fax or voice mail,  If the encoding type is not set to UTF-8 the attachments may not get attached to the cases that are created by that email in Salesforce.


Encoding ISO-8859-1

ISO-8859-1 (aka Latin1) included only Latin based language characters. It is limited in size, and not compatible in multilingual environments. It has no apostrophe, nor single quotes, for instance – but it can still handle a lot of languages, from Kurdish to Swahili. It can’t handle Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Hungarian and Welsh particularly well, nor can it show the Euro symbol. Users whose outbound e-mail contains English or other Western European languages should use this encoding. It is understood by virtually all receiving e-mail reader software.

Encoding UTF-8 supports almost all possible characters, including international characters. UTF-8 can represent any character in the Unicode standard. It is backwards compatible with ASCII. Users who need to send e-mail with non-Latin data (e.g., the Euro symbol, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, etc.) should use this encoding. It is the preferred and most used encoding. For instance, if you’re sending any entirely non-ASCII messages (Asian languages, primarily) then UTF-8 is your best bet.

Encodings Shift_JIS, EUC-JP and ISO-2022-JP are useful for users in Japan, but are not recommended for other users.

For additional information of which e-mail encoding that is setup on your local client please contact your IT department.

For configuring e-mail encoding within Salesforce, it can be configured on the Salesforce User record, or on Email Templates. 

For Salesforce User record: Name | My Settings | Personal | Language & Timezone | Email Encoding   

For Email Templates: Name | Setup | Adminstration | Communicaton Templates | Email Templates (select the template) | Encoding 

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