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When I open a file with some UTF-8 text in it the characters show up as boxes.

I think I have a font missing, because I can safely edit these boxes and the changes will turn out correctly when I look at them in another text editor (for example from Vim in terminal).

Also at startup Emacs prints out the following warning:

Warning: no fonts matching `-*-fixed-medium-r-normal-*-16-*-*-*-*-*-iso8859-1' available [2 times]

I have tried installing several font packages to my system but that doesn't seem to help.

Using GNU Emacs 22.3

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Try and set DejaVu Sans Mono as the font. That's a font for Unicode that is normally installed by default on any Linux distribution.

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This kind of solved my problem, as to use DejaVu Sans Mono font I had to upgrade to Emacs 23, as 22 doesn't support TrueType fonts. Apparently after upgrade Emacs automagically selected DejaVu Sans Mono as its default font. – Rene Saarsoo Jul 27 '09 at 14:01
Glad it helped! – Mike McQuaid Jul 27 '09 at 14:03
Emacs 23 added xft support which makes life much more livable in the world of fonts and emacs. – baudtack Dec 23 '09 at 7:24

The fonts error is probably a red herring. This message usually comes up because Emacs thinks it should use a font this specification for some of its output. If you need/want to fix it then finding the faulty specification and fixing it is the recommended route (e.g.

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Upgrading to Emacs 23 also seemed to remove this warning message. – Rene Saarsoo Jul 27 '09 at 14:02

Unicode (name or hex):

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What do you mean by "name or hex"? And what should I look for in that question you pointed out? – Rene Saarsoo Jul 27 '09 at 9:31
There are some answer for this problem .. – joe Jul 27 '09 at 9:39
If you mean (prefer-coding-system 'utf-8) then I do have that in my .emacs file. I also tried adding all the following lines, but that didn't help. – Rene Saarsoo Jul 27 '09 at 9:55

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