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I see up arrows in Math texts where the arrow should go from left to right, and down arrows for arrows that should go from right to left. If I cut and paste to another text editor, I get the proper right and left arrows. Example page where I am experiencing this:

Why is Firefox showing the wrong characters, and how can I fix it?

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Can you give us a link to a page where you experience this? It would help diagnosing exactly which characters are involved and why they may be interpreted wrong. As a quick test, I am going to place the following HTML entities in my comment in order: left arrow, right arrow, up arrow, down arrow. Let me know what you see: ← , → , ↑ , ↓ – iglvzx May 25 '12 at 2:33
The display for your 4 arrows is perfect. The page I was looking at was: – Frank May 25 '12 at 2:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Here's a quick report of

  • Encoding: Unicode (UTF-8); Good!
  • Markup: Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional; Good!
  • Font Family: serif Good!

I see no problems with the page, and based on the above details, I assume your browser is using a serif font that does not support some UTF-8 characters, especially the left and right arrow.

Since you are using Firefox, you can change this by going to:

  • Options > Content > Fonts & Colors > Advanced

and changing the the settings like so:

  • Fonts for: Western
  • Serif: <a serif font with Unicode support>
  • Character Encoding > Default: Unicode (UTF-8)

If you are not sure of which Unicode font to use, I recommend DejaVu Serif.

Note: My comment above is computed from the following list of fonts:

Arial, Liberation Sans, DejaVu Sans, sans-serif

This is different than just serif. A browser will look for each font in the list until it finds one installed on your system. Your browser is being instructed to use different fonts in each case, which explains why you may be able to see the arrow characters here but not on the other page.

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Thanks, it will works, I have tried with Lucida Grande, and the arrows show up correctly. However, I now need to find a font I like. I was using Times before, and I got used to it, Lucida Grande is not quite as nice for me. – Frank May 25 '12 at 3:20
Times New Roman seems to be very close to Times, but with the correct arrows. Phew!!! For reference, I'm on a Mac. Thanks! – Frank May 25 '12 at 3:22
That's great! No problem. :) – iglvzx May 25 '12 at 3:24
@Frank If this problem is solved, you can accept the answer by clicking the checkmark on the left. This lets the community know to move on to other, unsolved problems. (Plus, we both get reputation points ;) ) Welcome to Super User! – iglvzx May 25 '12 at 3:30

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