First, some info on my system/version:
Windows 10
Emacs 26.1
(I'm new to Emacs, so let me know if there is more information I should provide)

This is what is happening:
character/symbol being displayed in what looks to be latin-1, when it should be utf-8

The image above shows that the UTF-8 arrow is being correctly displayed within quotes in the line that sets the variable for the org-ellipsis; however, the actual ellipsis that is being displayed (in cyan) looks to be Latin-1 (I think) instead of UTF-8.

I have explicitly set my coding systems to UTF-8 with the following lines:

(prefer-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-language-environment 'utf-8)
(set-default-coding-systems 'utf-8)
(set-terminal-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-keyboard-coding-system 'utf-8)

Note: I realize that the functions prefer-coding-system and set-default-coding-systems already include code that sets the terminal and keyboard coding systems; however, I don't know much about coding systems and wanted to see if, for some reason, calling them explicitly would solve my problem.

When I run the command, describe-current-coding-system, this is what I get:

Coding system for saving this buffer:
  U -- utf-8-dos (alias: mule-utf-8-dos)

Default coding system (for new files):
  U -- utf-8 (alias: mule-utf-8)

Coding system for keyboard input:
  U -- utf-8-unix (alias: mule-utf-8-unix)

Coding system for terminal output:
  U -- utf-8 (alias: mule-utf-8)

Coding system for inter-client cut and paste:
  U -- utf-16le-dos

Defaults for subprocess I/O:
  decoding: U -- utf-8-dos (alias: mule-utf-8-dos)

  encoding: U -- utf-8-unix (alias: mule-utf-8-unix)

Priority order for recognizing coding systems when reading files:
  1. utf-8 (alias: mule-utf-8)
  2. iso-2022-7bit 
  3. iso-latin-1 (alias: iso-8859-1 latin-1)
  4. iso-2022-7bit-lock (alias: iso-2022-int-1)
  5. iso-2022-8bit-ss2 
  6. emacs-mule 
  7. raw-text 
  8. iso-2022-jp (alias: junet)
  9. in-is13194-devanagari (alias: devanagari)
  10. chinese-iso-8bit (alias: cn-gb-2312 euc-china euc-cn cn-gb gb2312)
  11. utf-8-auto 
  12. utf-8-with-signature 
  13. utf-16 
  14. utf-16be-with-signature (alias: utf-16-be)
  15. utf-16le-with-signature (alias: utf-16-le)
  16. utf-16be 
  17. utf-16le 
  18. japanese-shift-jis (alias: shift_jis sjis)
  19. chinese-big5 (alias: big5 cn-big5 cp950)
  20. undecided 

  Other coding systems cannot be distinguished automatically
  from these, and therefore cannot be recognized automatically
  with the present coding system priorities.

Is there some coding system variable I'm missing?

Is this happening because I'm on Windows?

Can someone please shed some light on why this might be happening and a possible solution?

EDIT (with more information that could indicate what may be happening):

What is particularly frustrating is that when I make an irrelevant change to my config file (like setting an unrelated variable or even simply adding a comment), upon saving and reloading my config file, my UTF-8 arrows appear as they should.

This is frustrating because, if I'm making a change in an attempt to solve the issue, when I save and reload, the problem is gone, which leads me to believe that I've solved the problem with that change. However, when I load my Emacs config on a new machine, the arrows are gone and my org-mode outlines appear as they do in the image near the top of this post.


After modifying and reloading my config with an arbitrary change completely unrelated to this issue and the ellipsis loading correctly, sometimes I can restart Emacs and it will still display the arrows as intended, but other times, it will revert back to displaying what is in the screenshot near the top of this post.

  • 1. Are you sure that your config file is really loaded when you re-start emacs? Check with C-h v org-ellipsis. 2. Check the characters by placing point before them and calling M-x describe-char. – Tobias Mar 12 '19 at 17:33
  • 1. Yes, I'm sure that the config file is loaded and is being used because it's not displaying the default "...", it's displaying the value I've set to org-ellipsis (and in cyan, as I've told it to). 1.5. Due to the reason I've described in the "EDIT" at the bottom of my post, because I've since made another change and reloaded, it's displaying the arrows as it should at the moment. However, while it was displaying the Latin-1(I think) version, as seen in the image in my post, checking the variable with C-h v org-ellipsis showed that its value was those weird Latin-1 symbols/characters. – DerpKat Mar 12 '19 at 17:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.