utf8 is an R package for manipulating and printing UTF-8 text that fixes multiple bugs in R’s UTF-8 handling.


Stable version

utf8 is available on CRAN. To install the latest released version, run the following command in R:


Development version

To install the latest development version, run the following:




Validate character data and convert to UTF-8

Use as_utf8() to validate input text and convert to UTF-8 encoding. The function alerts you if the input text has the wrong declared encoding:

# second entry is encoded in latin-1, but declared as UTF-8
x <- c("fa\u00E7ile", "fa\xE7ile", "fa\xC3\xA7ile")
Encoding(x) <- c("UTF-8", "UTF-8", "bytes")
as_utf8(x) # fails
#> Error in as_utf8(x): entry 2 has wrong Encoding; marked as "UTF-8" but leading byte 0xE7 followed by invalid continuation byte (0x69) at position 4

# mark the correct encoding
Encoding(x[2]) <- "latin1"
as_utf8(x) # succeeds
#> [1] "façile" "façile" "façile"

Normalize data

Use utf8_normalize() to convert to Unicode composed normal form (NFC). Optionally apply compatibility maps for NFKC normal form or case-fold.

# three ways to encode an angstrom character
(angstrom <- c("\u00c5", "\u0041\u030a", "\u212b"))
#> [1] "Å" "Å" "Å"
utf8_normalize(angstrom) == "\u00c5"

# perform full Unicode case-folding
utf8_normalize("Größe", map_case = TRUE)
#> [1] "grösse"

# apply compatibility maps to NFKC normal form
# (example from https://twitter.com/aprilarcus/status/367557195186970624)
utf8_normalize("𝖸𝗈 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐨𝐝𝐞 𝗅 𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖽 𝕌 𝗅𝗂𝗄𝖾 𝑡𝑦𝑝𝑒𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒𝑠 𝗌𝗈 𝗐𝖾 𝗉𝗎𝗍 𝗌𝗈𝗆𝖾 𝚌𝚘𝚍𝚎𝚙𝚘𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚜 𝗂𝗇 𝗒𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝔖𝔲𝔭𝔭𝔩𝔢𝔪𝔢𝔫𝔱𝔞𝔯𝔶 𝔚𝔲𝔩𝔱𝔦𝔩𝔦𝔫𝔤𝔳𝔞𝔩 𝔓𝔩𝔞𝔫𝔢 𝗌𝗈 𝗒𝗈𝗎 𝖼𝖺𝗇 𝓮𝓷𝓬𝓸𝓭𝓮 𝕗𝕠𝕟𝕥𝕤 𝗂𝗇 𝗒𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝒇𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒔.",
               map_compat = TRUE)
#> [1] "Yo Unicode l herd U like typefaces so we put some codepoints in your Supplementary Wultilingval Plane so you can encode fonts in your fonts."

On some platforms (including MacOS), the R implementation of print() uses an outdated version of the Unicode standard to determine which characters are printable. Use utf8_print() for an updated print function:

print(intToUtf8(0x1F600 + 0:79)) # with default R print function
#> [1] "😀😁😂😃😄😅😆😇😈😉😊😋😌😍😎😏😐😑😒😓😔😕😖😗😘😙😚😛😜😝😞😟😠😡😢😣😤😥😦😧😨😩😪😫😬😭😮😯😰😱😲😳😴😵😶😷😸😹😺😻😼😽😾😿🙀🙁🙂🙃🙄🙅🙆🙇🙈🙉🙊🙋🙌🙍🙎🙏"

utf8_print(intToUtf8(0x1F600 + 0:79)) # with utf8_print, truncates line
#> [1] "😀​😁​😂​😃​😄​😅​😆​😇​😈​😉​😊​😋​😌​😍​😎​😏​😐​😑​😒​😓​😔​😕​😖​😗​😘​😙​😚​😛​😜​😝​😞​😟​😠​😡​😢​😣​😤​😥​😦​😧​😨​😩​😪​😫​…"

utf8_print(intToUtf8(0x1F600 + 0:79), chars = 1000) # higher character limit
#> [1] "😀​😁​😂​😃​😄​😅​😆​😇​😈​😉​😊​😋​😌​😍​😎​😏​😐​😑​😒​😓​😔​😕​😖​😗​😘​😙​😚​😛​😜​😝​😞​😟​😠​😡​😢​😣​😤​😥​😦​😧​😨​😩​😪​😫​😬​😭​😮​😯​😰​😱​😲​😳​😴​😵​😶​😷​😸​😹​😺​😻​😼​😽​😾​😿​🙀​🙁​🙂​🙃​🙄​🙅​🙆​🙇​🙈​🙉​🙊​🙋​🙌​🙍​🙎​🙏​"


Cite utf8 with the following BibTeX entry:

  title = {utf8: Unicode Text Processing},
  author = {Patrick O. Perry},
  year = {2018},
  note = {R package version 1.1.4},
  url = {https://github.com/patperry/r-utf8},


The project maintainer welcomes contributions in the form of feature requests, bug reports, comments, unit tests, vignettes, or other code. If you’d like to contribute, either

  • fork the repository and submit a pull request

  • file an issue;

  • or contact the maintainer via e-mail.

This project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct, and if you choose to contribute, you must adhere to its terms.