c# - How can I detect the encoding/codepage of a text file

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Top 5 Answer for c# - How can I detect the encoding/codepage of a text file

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You can't detect the codepage, you need to be told it. You can analyse the bytes and guess it, but that can give some bizarre (sometimes amusing) results. I can't find it now, but I'm sure Notepad can be tricked into displaying English text in Chinese.

Anyway, this is what you need to read: The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!).

Specifically Joel says:

The Single Most Important Fact About Encodings

If you completely forget everything I just explained, please remember one extremely important fact. It does not make sense to have a string without knowing what encoding it uses. You can no longer stick your head in the sand and pretend that "plain" text is ASCII. There Ain't No Such Thing As Plain Text.

If you have a string, in memory, in a file, or in an email message, you have to know what encoding it is in or you cannot interpret it or display it to users correctly.

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If you're looking to detect non-UTF encodings (i.e. no BOM), you're basically down to heuristics and statistical analysis of the text. You might want to take a look at the Mozilla paper on universal charset detection (same link, with better formatting via Wayback Machine).

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Have you tried C# port for Mozilla Universal Charset Detector

Example from http://code.google.com/p/ude/

public static void Main(String[] args) {     string filename = args[0];     using (FileStream fs = File.OpenRead(filename)) {         Ude.CharsetDetector cdet = new Ude.CharsetDetector();         cdet.Feed(fs);         cdet.DataEnd();         if (cdet.Charset != null) {             Console.WriteLine("Charset: {0}, confidence: {1}",                   cdet.Charset, cdet.Confidence);         } else {             Console.WriteLine("Detection failed.");         }     } }     
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You can't detect the codepage

This is clearly false. Every web browser has some kind of universal charset detector to deal with pages which have no indication whatsoever of an encoding. Firefox has one. You can download the code and see how it does it. See some documentation here. Basically, it is a heuristic, but one that works really well.

Given a reasonable amount of text, it is even possible to detect the language.

Here's another one I just found using Google:

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I know it's very late for this question and this solution won't appeal to some (because of its english-centric bias and its lack of statistical/empirical testing), but it's worked very well for me, especially for processing uploaded CSV data:



  • BOM detection built-in
  • Default/fallback encoding customizable
  • pretty reliable (in my experience) for western-european-based files containing some exotic data (eg french names) with a mixture of UTF-8 and Latin-1-style files - basically the bulk of US and western european environments.

Note: I'm the one who wrote this class, so obviously take it with a grain of salt! :)

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