When extracting a message from my inbox containing the norwegian letter "ø" I find that it is encoded with 3 bytes as "=F8" or hexadecimal "0x3d4638". In UTF-8 the letter "ø" is encoded with two bytes as "0xc3b8", whereas in ISO-8859-1 it is encoded as one byte with code "0xf8".

What kind of encoding is used by my mail server when it saves incoming mail? That is, in which encoding is "ø" equal to "0x3d4638"?

  • I see there is a similarity between "=F8" and hexadecimal "0xf8".. Maybe this is a clue? Dec 13, 2013 at 14:30
  • @OlivierDulac Thanks! It is called "Quoted-printable" See here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quoted-printable .You may give this as an answer, and I'll accept it. Dec 13, 2013 at 14:53
  • There is Quoted Printable for supersets of 7-bit US-ASCII, Base64 for non-supersets of US-ASCII (notably for binary files), and variants of both for use in headers.
    – ninjalj
    Dec 13, 2013 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


It is called quoted-printable.

I take the opportunity to link to another doc worth reading about character encodings: http://utf8everywhere.org/ [of course, not possible in emails, and that's why they use other types of encoding there... But still, good to read when you are about to choose which encoding to use!]

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