Using HTML Entities for Special Characters

At ImageSmith, we develop for a Content Management System (CMS) called DotNetNuke. This allows our clients to easily make text and image changes with a simple login. Usually the only type of content that needs to be added or updated is plain text, but sometimes you will run into the need of a special character like the copyright symbol (©) or a fraction (½). In HTML, an entity was can render pretty much any symbol imaginable using the combination of a few characters.

Using the Correct Syntax For HTML Entities

To make an HTML entity you have to follow a format. You type an ampersand, then the entity name, and you finish with a semicolon. If you type “©” in the source code of an HTML document you will get the copyright symbol like this: Copyright © 2011 by ImageSmith.

Pretty neat huh? There are many entities you can use on your website. For example, say you want to write content for the Romans in ancient Greece? There are entities for that:

Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ζ Η Θ Ι Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ρ Σ Τ Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω
α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ ς σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω ϑ ϒ ϖ

To see a complete list of HTML entities, visit W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) for a current list of Character Entity References.

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