To the point & Out of the box

Handling TXT Files on OSX and Windows

Being a OSX user and still a Windows user too I have to deal with TXT files on both systems. I'm writing most of my programming documentation in my own make-doc-pro (MDP) format. The MDP format is a simple text based markup language.

However, if you open a TXT file with special characters like Umlaute on OSX, you will see strange characters. This is because OSX and Windows use different character encodings.

Windows mostly uses the so called ISO-8859/Latin encoding. OSX uses the Western (MAC OS Roman) encoding. But we are lucky because most OSX text editors let you specify the text encoding method that should be used.

The problem is, that most encodings use a different wording, so you need to know what encoding is related to ISO-8859/Latin. The unofficial convention is that this encoding is described as Latin-9. This is because the ISO-885 part is not mentioned (and it is assumed that everyone on this planet knows this) and the Latin-9 just states that it's the ISO-885(9) standard.

So, if you want to open Windows TXT files try to use an encoding that is named Latin-9 or something like this.

To avoid all if this hassel you could use the Unicode UTF-8 encoding because this will support much more special characters than Latin-9. And UTF-8 is supported on OSX and Windows as well.