The Purpose of HTML Special Characters

Many times it is necessary to use special characters in an HTML document. The most common example is when writing words in another language, for example Spanish. The word for "Spanish" (in Spanish) is "Español". So how did that ñ with the little squiggly above it get printed out? The answer is that a special character code was used in the HTML document. Go to your Browser's View Page Source menu option to see how the special character "ñ" was coded in this document.

A special character begins with the symbol & followed immediately by # and then the numeric code of the special character, and finally ended off with a semi-colon ";" e.g. ñ gets displayed as ñ

Alternatively, you could use the Special Character Keyword. The syntax is slightly different however. Begin with the ampersand symbol & as before, but do not include the number sign: # After the ampersand symbol, type in the keyword code of the special character. End off as before with a semi-colon ";" So to print out ñ you could use ñ or ñ Either form is acceptible.
The next section of this document shows special characters that you need for Spanish. Following that section, there is a description of how to find special codes for other languages and purposes.

Examples of Special Characters Needed in Spanish

Here is a little table of the other special characters that you would need to write some words in Spanish. (Unas palabras en Español.)
Special Character
Numeric Code
Special Character
Keyword
Character Example
á
á
á
papá
é
é
é
Inglés
í
í
í
exhibicíon
ó
ó
ó
evolución
ú
ú
ú
chúcaro
ñ
ñ
ñ
niños
Here is another special characters that can be useful for any web page: © or © for the copyright symbol: ©

How to Find Other Special Characters

Not interested in Spanish? How odd!! It's really a neat language - much easier than English.

If you're into some other language, then you can make up your own table of codes. You can find codes by searching the internet. Here is one address that works today (Nov 1, 2000): http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/HTML/guide/entities.html

Notes on Searching

Things change always on the Internet though, so next is how you would do a search of your own.
Go to a search engine such as www.altavista.com and enter: +HTML +"special characters"
Altavista usage note: The "+" sign tells the search engine that the phrase has to appear on the page (i.e., the "+" acts as a logical "AND"). The quotes around "special characters" indicates a search for that phrase, rather than the individual words. So, this search is for pages containing both the phrase "special characters" and the word "HTML" on the same page.
e.g. The upper case O umlat (Ö) requires Ö while ö gives you the lower case version (ö).

Another Note on Searching

If you supply the search engine with more detail, your search results will likely be better. For example, telling Altavista to search for: +HTML +umlat produced the following location: http://www.mountaindragon.com/html/iso.htm



This page was last modified: 24 Dec 2010

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