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Unicode Character Replacement

Unicode Character Replacement

Unicode is a set of characters that includes all the characters needed to allow you to send texts in any language. It also includes a wide range of symbols.

But using unicode characters reduces the number of available characters in a single SMS message from 160 to just 70.

So if a text inadvertently contains a unicode character you will end up using more text credits than you intended. This is fine if there’s only a few but can be a costly mistake if you are sending many thousands.

The comma and apostrophe are the most common culprits as there is almost no visible difference between the standard  and Unicode versions.

comma and apostrophe in unicode

Here’s a selection of other unicode characters to watch out for.

A selection of unicode characters

We’ve developed a Unicode replacement tool that solves this problem

If you activate the unicode replace filter, we’ll replace the characters defined in the table below before your message is sent. 

The table covers all of the most common unicode characters that are used by mistake.

Be aware that any other unicode characters will not be changed, so your SMS may still be sent with a 70 character limit per message.

Name Unicode Character Replacement Description
En Dash En dash should be a hyphen
Em Dash Em dash should be a hyphen
Horizontal Bar Horizontal bar should be a hyphen
Start Single Quote Start single quote should be straight single quote
End Single Quote Start single quote should be straight single quote
Modifier Letter Apostrophe ʼ Modifier letter apostrophe should be straight single quote
Start Double Quotes Start double quotes should be straight double quotes
End Double Quotes End double quotes should be straight double quotes
Low Double Quotes Low double quotes should be straight double quotes
High Double Quotes High double quotes should be straight double quotes

You can also use our unicode detector tool to identify unusual characters before submitting.

How to activate the unicode replacement tool

Log into your account and go to SMS Credits on the left, then select the Cost Saving tab.

Enable unicode replacement

Scroll down and switch on Enable Unicode Replacement.

How much could I save using the unicode replacement tool?


If you sent a text message to 1000 people that was 150 characters long and it contained a single unicode comma, then you would use 3 credits for each message, rather than 1.

Sending 1000 texts at our standard SMS rate of 3.25 pence with the unicode comma would cost £97.50 + VAT.

Strip the rogue unicode comma and you would spend just £32.50 + VAT.

We hope you find this a useful tool to help reduce your SMS costs and eliminate wastage.

If you’re not sure if you’re already sending unicode characters by mistake, our SMS Insights tools will tell you. 

Login to your account and go to SMS Insights, then click on the cost saving tab.

If you have any questions, we’re here to help.
[email protected]


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author avatar
Henry Cazalet Managing Director
Co-founder and Director of The SMS Works, a low cost and powerful SMS API for developers. About Henry