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incoming SMS weird character [answered]

asked 2014-09-30 17:28:06 +0300

steabert gravatar image

updated 2014-10-12 14:37:45 +0300

ossi1967 gravatar image


with some of the SMS that I receive, rectangular characters with a cross through them are displayed instead of the actual character. I would guess that they should be smilies. Are there some known problems with how those are encoded?

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The question has been closed for the following reason "the question is answered, an answer was accepted" by nthn
close date 2017-03-06 20:24:25.023797

2 Answers

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answered 2014-09-30 17:46:40 +0300

drcouzelis gravatar image

A font with all of the smiley face characters is included with the "keyboard-custom-emoji" package from here:


After you install that package, the phone will need to be restarted before you'll be able to see the fonts rendered correctly.

(I chose to disable the keyboard by using the "Settings" application because I was only interested in being able to see the fonts.)

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hmm, never heard of an 'emoji'. Why not just use :-) ? I think I'm getting old...

steabert ( 2014-09-30 17:48:42 +0300 )edit

@steabert: It's common sense to just use :-) in an SMS of course. Problem isn't what you use... problem is what the other person uses. You cannot control that, and Emojis have been a successful markting thing for quite a while now. It wouldn't be too far fetched to include them.

ossi1967 ( 2014-09-30 17:54:15 +0300 )edit

@ossi1967: your comment probably exactly desribes the issue I have :) I can only hope that having a ton of little cars and bunnies on my phone isn't going to cause too much extra resource usage...

steabert ( 2014-09-30 17:59:52 +0300 )edit

@steabert: Last time I used an Emoji on my Android phone (which I have to use for work) a friend of mine replied: "Ah, so you're on your girls' phone again." :)

ossi1967 ( 2014-09-30 18:07:24 +0300 )edit

I tried the emoji keyboard, but for me it felt rather slow, and I really don't need a whole line of emoji's to browse. I tried to follow the AndroidEmoij.ttf recipe, but that failed (the font has been changed somehow and has no emoji), but instead I used Symbola.ttf from my linux computer (available from this package: http://users.teilar.gr/~g1951d/Symbola.zip). That worked great! :)

steabert ( 2014-10-05 18:06:11 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-09-30 17:37:44 +0300

ossi1967 gravatar image

AFAIK there's just no font to render them.

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That looks like it indeed. I was hoping someone could tell me if there are any well-known issues with characteres that can't be rendered.

steabert ( 2014-09-30 17:43:09 +0300 )edit

:) I'm not sure I understand you: You descibe such a well-known issue in your original question. And it's not the encoding, it's the rendering (missing font).

See also:


ossi1967 ( 2014-09-30 17:51:45 +0300 )edit

what I meant was that I didn't know what kind of character would be causing this. I only guessed they might be some kind of smilies based on the position in the sentence I had. So I was seeking confirmation that this was some kind of smily. I had not heard of emoji's before though... are they unicode characters? Yes, sorry, encoding/rendering, I'm not that good with that kind of terminology :)

steabert ( 2014-09-30 17:57:23 +0300 )edit

They are indeed unicode characters.

nthn ( 2014-09-30 18:00:37 +0300 )edit

@steabert: Well, fortunately they are standardized in Unicode, so there's some interoperability. See


A problem, though, is that while Unicode can provide a general description of the character and maybe a reference glyph, that doesn't mean that a "smiling face" looks the same on all devices - the same way the letter "capital F" doenst look the same and differs in shape and size, depending on the font. See this table:


The first line "GRINNING FACE WITH SMILING EYES" is rendered as something I'd identify as a happy smile on most platforms, while Apple and Twitter create something I'd interpret as grim and not so nice. That's why I prefer :-) ... It's more precise.

ossi1967 ( 2014-09-30 18:18:15 +0300 )edit

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Asked: 2014-09-30 17:28:06 +0300

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Last updated: Sep 30 '14