Teaching and Learning with Technology

Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Using Microsoft Expression Web for Non-English Sites

Note: These instructions were written in June, 2010 for Version 3 of Microsoft Expression Web, except where noted.

Dreamweaver (PC/Mac) | FrontPage (Deprecated)

This Page

  1. About Microsoft Expression Web
  2. Input Special Characters
  3. Input Other Scripts
  4. Change Encoding of Page
  5. Change Language Tag
  6. Change Default Font
  7. Working with Importing Encoded Text

About Microsoft Expression Web

Microsoft Expression Web is a successor to Microsoft's Front Page Web editor and is generally superior than Front Page in terms HTML which follows standards while maintaining an interface similar to Microsoft Office. For one thing, new documents are encoded as utf-8 (Unicode) by default instead of the win-1252 encoding used by Front Page.

Recommended Version

For reasons dealing with language tagging, it is recommended that users purchase or upgrade to Web Expression 3.
Note: Expression Web 3 also removes the Chinese Translation tool and the Insert Redirection tools.

Input Special Characters

Insert Special Characters

To insert symbols and accented characters.

  1. Go to the Insert menu then Special Characters. This will open a tool similar to the Character Map.
  2. Select the character block needed from the Subset menu.
    Note: If you do not see the block or desired character, switch font to one with that character set. A font which includes lots of characters is Arial Unicode MS.
    Insert Symbol, Phonetic Extension Subset
    Insert Symbol window set to IPA Extensions and Cambria font.
  3. Once you find the desired character, highlight it, then click the Insert button. The character will be inserted into your document.

Alternate Methods

You can also insert special characters into Expression Web by typing them in directly with accent codes or with the Character Map.

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Input Other Scripts

The default encoding of a new Web document is utf-8 (Unicode). That means you can generally type directly into Microsoft Expression by switching your keyboards. Keyboards for any scripts you wish to use must first be installed and activated within your Windows Operating system. See the Keyboards section for more details on how to activate keyboards. Supported keyboards include the Windows U.S. International Keyboard.

If switching keyboards does not work, then open the code view and make sure the encoding meta tag is set correctly.
Note: There may be additional issues with some less supported scripts, including lack of an appropriate encoded font for those characters. See the By Language section for recommended fonts for different scripts.

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Change Encoding of Page

The default encoding for HTML documents created in U.S. Dreamweaver is utf-8 (Unicode). To verify or change the encoding of a particular document, do the following:

  1. Open or create a document in Microsoft Expression.
  2. Go Files » Properties to open the Page Properties window.
  3. In the Page Properties window, click the Language tab. The HTML Encoding section will display the current encoding in the Save the document as menu.
  4. To change the encoding, change the selection in the Save the document as menu.

    Page Properties Screen Capture

Note on Escape Codes

If your HTML document is set to an encoding other than Unicode, (e.g. Latin 1/ISO88-59-1) some characters may be converted to numeric escape codes in the HTML code. Although the page is viewable, it may be difficult to edit some of the escape codes.

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Change Language Tag

Automatic Language Tagging (Expression Web 2)

In Expression Web 2, the language tag of a document is derived from the keyboard being used in Windows.

For instance if a new document is created while the user is typing with the French keyboard, then the document will be set to <lang="fr">. If the user then switches to another keyboard (e.g. Greek), that section will be marked in the second language.

Note: This feature has been removed in Expression Web 3.

Uncheck Language Tagging

If you do not want automatic language tagging, then:

  1. Go to the Tools menu and select the Page Editor Options.
  2. In the Page Editor Options, make sure the General tab is selected.
  3. On the General tab, uncheck "Automatically switch keyboard to match language of surrounding text."

Manually Change Language Tags

If you need to add or change language tags, do the following:

Add/Edit Language Tag for Entire Document

  1. Open or create a document in Microsoft Expression.
  2. Go Files » Properties to open the Page Properties window.
  3. In the Page Properties window, click the Language tab.
  4. To change the declared language of the document change the language selection in the Mark Current document as menu.

    Page Properties Screen Capture
    Page Properties window showing the document marked as "English (U.S.)"

Add/Edit Language Tag for Word or Phrase

These directions assume you need to tag a word or phrase in a second language. You will probably need access to the HTML code view to accomplish this efficiently.

  1. Click Split or Code at the bottom of the Expression Web window to access the HTML code.
  2. In the HTML code, type <span> (opening SPAN tag) at the beginning of a foreign-language word or phrase and </span> (closing SPAN tag) at the end.
    Note: You can add the lang="" attribute at this stage if you know the code.
  3. Place your cursor between the two SPAN tags.
  4. In the Tag Properties window in the lower left, click on the lang row. This should activate a pop-up menu.
    Note: That you can also set attribites for dir="ltr" or dir="rtl" in the dir row.
  5. In the lang menu, select an appropriate language tag. A list of ISO-639-2 language tags is available at the Library of Congress.
    Note: If both a two-letter code and a three-letter code are available, use the shorter two letter code.

Screen Capture Expression Web in Split View and with Tag Properties Window

Add/Edit Language Tag for a Block of Text

If you need to tag a longer passage (e.g. a paragraph, blockquote), then you can either.


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Changing Font Options

Note: Most modern browsers automatically switch fonts if the default font does not contain the appropriate character. However, if you wish to exercise more formatting control, you can do so in the Page Editor Options. See tips for selecting Web fonts for more information on selecting appropriate fonts.

Changing Default Font

In some cases, you may need to change your default font (particularly the Code view font) to one that supports a particular range of characters. to do that:

  1. Go to Tools » Page Editor Options. A pop-window will open.
  2. Click the Default Fonts tab. Make sure the Language (character set) menu is set to Unicode (UTF-8) or another appropriate encoding.
  3. You will have an option to change the font and size for both the Design View font and the Code View font. Click OK to save changes.

Screen Capture Default Font

Adding Font Options for CSS

To add to the list of possible font options to be used in CSS font formatting:

  1. Go to the Tools menu and select the Page Editor Options.
  2. In the Page Editor Options, click the Font Families tab.
  3. On the Font Families tab, you can add "Collections" which are lists of desired fonts in a prioritized order. For instance a collection of "Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" would mean a browser should use Arial font if available, or Helvetica if Arial is not available.
    Note: It is important that any list include a common Windows font and a common Macintosh as well as any specialized font you wish to specify.

Screen Capture Font Families window


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Import and Format Encoded Text

Another way to work with Expression Web is to open an encoded text file, copy and paste text and then add the formatting or style tags as needed.

Suggested Text Editors

These text editors allow you to easily type encoded text then export them as properly encoded HTML or text files.

  1. Microsoft Word - The simplest option is to copy and paste the text from Word into another text editor such as Notepad (Windows). See details below for saving the files.
    Note: Because of Microsoft HTML formatting issues, export from Microsoft Word is not recommended.
  2. Notepad (free with Windows)
    1. When you save a .txt file, you switch the encoding from ANSI to UTF-8 or other encoding.
    2. You can cut and paste items into Dreamweaver or Web Expression (HTML file must be set to the correct encoding encoding).
  3. UniType GlobalWriter (Windows) - To export an encoded HTML file, go to File then Save As. Select the HTML file type. The next window will ask you to choose an encoding before saving. If in doubt, choose Unicode.
  4. StarOffice (Windows/Linux)
    1. To save StarOffice documents as encoded documents, go to File, then Save As. Select the Text Encoded format. In the next window, select UTF-8 encoding.
    2. You can cut and paste items into Dreamweaver, Web Expression or other HTML editor (HTML file must be set to utf-8 Unicode encoding)
  5. Other text editors designed for foreign language text editing may be able to export encoded text or HTML files.

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Potential Pitfalls

  1. Make sure file declares the encoding within the HTML HEAD tag; otherwise the keyboard may not work.The Unicode declaration is given below; see the Declare Encoding page for more examples.

    <meta  http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

  2. Avoid specifying specific fonts for a script as some alternative browsers and platforms may not be able to read the page (the encoding should be enough to trigger the font changes). If specific fonts must be specified, then make sure both Window and Macintosh equivalents are specified.
  3. When opening HTML files exported from a text editor, inspect the code to be sure it does not include vendor-specific tags which may not work on all browsers.
  4. For U.S. audiences, it is best to provide instructions to users on how to configure their browsers.
  5. For languages whose encoding systems are not widely supported by browsers, the text editor and Dreamweaver can still be used to develop the web page, but you will need to take extra steps to provide information on recommended browsers and fonts.
  6. Unfortunately, some scripts may be so under-supported that there may not be a viable encoding system or text editor available. In these cases another option should be used.

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:41:33 EDT