Unicode characters display as question marks, 'garbled' or 'nonsense'


Unicode characters display as question marks, 'garbled' or 'nonsense' text in some Windows Form Controls even though they are stored in a personal geodatabase and display perfectly in ArcGIS products.



The Windows Form Control used to display the characters is not Unicode-enabled. This is known to happen in VB 6, VBA and VC++ 6.

Given that MessageBox is not Unicode-enabled, this VBA code may be used to reproduce the issue. Paste it in an ArcMap document and modify it as needed to work with your Unicode test data:

Sub Test()

Dim pMxDoc As IMxDocument
Dim pMap As IMap
Set pMxDoc = Application.Document
Set pMap = pMxDoc.FocusMap

Dim pFeatLayer As IFeatureLayer
Set pFeatLayer = pMap.Layer(0)

Dim pTable As ITable
Set pTable = pFeatLayer

Dim pRow As IRow
Set pRow = pTable.GetRow(1)

theUnicodeText = pRow.Value(2)
MsgBox "value= " & theUnicodeText

End Sub

The Windows Character Map tool, located in Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map, may be used to select and copy Unicode characters to the clipboard for pasting into the attribute table in edit mode.

Solution or Workaround

  1. Navigate to Start > Control Panel > Regional and Language Options.
  2. Click the Advanced tab.
  3. Select the appropriate language from the dropdown list under the 'Language for non-Unicode programs' section.

    The final result should look similar to the screenshot below:


Article ID:000009464

  • ArcGIS Engine 9 x
  • ArcMap

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