Converting Numeric Entity Codes Back to Text


I got a technical question recently which I thought to share.

Not so long ago in the history of Web Development, the safest way to display non-Western text was the use of numeric entity codes. For instance, one course management system would convert Cyrillic text like Україна (Ukraine) to a series of numeric codes like:


This is fine for single words and small phrases, but it's bad for an entire page...especially if you want to edit it.

Fortunately, there is a quasi-fix for this if you need to replace numeric codes with real text. That is:

  1. Open your page in a browser which does render the entity codes as the correct text.
  2. Copy displayed text and paste it in another file. It will be rendered as text.
  3. Put the text back into your HTML source.

It's a little tedious, but since I couldn't quickly find a better tool for this, it is a decent stop gap. At least you won't have to re-type everything...

About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage ( for a profile.


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