The @charset CSS at-rule specifies the character encoding used in the style sheet. It must be the first element in the style sheet and not be preceded by any character; as it is not a nested statement, it cannot be used inside conditional group at-rules. If several @charset at-rules are defined, only the first one is used, and it cannot be used inside a style attribute on an HTML element or inside the <style> element where the character set of the HTML page is relevant.

@charset "utf-8";

This at-rule is useful when using non-ASCII characters in some CSS properties, like content.

As there are several ways to define the character encoding of a style sheet, the browser will try the following methods in the following order (and stop as soon as one yields a result) :

  1. The value of the Unicode byte-order character placed at the beginning of the file.
  2. The value given by the charset attribute of the Content-Type: HTTP header or the equivalent in the protocol used to serve the style sheet.
  3. The @charset CSS at-rule.
  4. Use the character encoding defined by the referring document: the charset attribute of the <link> element. This method is obsoleted in HTML5 and must not be used.
  5. Assume that the document is UTF-8

Syntax

@charset "UTF-8";
@charset "iso-8859-15";

where:

charset
Is a <string> denoting the character encoding to be used. It must be the name of a web-safe character encoding defined in the IANA-registry, and must be double-quoted, following exactly one space character (U+0020), and immediately terminated with a semicolon. If several names are associated with an encoding, only the one marked with preferred must be used.

Formal syntax

@charset "<charset>";

Examples

@charset "UTF-8";       /* Set the encoding of the style sheet to Unicode UTF-8 */
@charset 'iso-8859-15'; /* Invalid, wrong quoting style used */
@charset  "UTF-8";      /* Invalid, more than one space */
 @charset "UTF-8";      /* Invalid, there is a character (a space) before the at-rule */
@charset UTF-8;         /* Invalid, without ' or ", the charset is not a CSS <string> */

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of '@charset' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support2 No1.515.5294
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support2.1 ? No4104 ?

1. Firefox 1 supported an invalid syntax where the character encoding is not between single or double quotes.

2. From Internet Explorer 5.5 to IE 7 (inclusive), Internet Explorer supported an invalid syntax where the character encoding is not between single or double quotes.

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: fscholz,