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Let's say I open a webpage with some Unicode characters, say, Cyrillic, in the address like this:

http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Функциональная_закреплённость

When I try to copy it from the address bar somewhere else, it becomes unreadable rubbish:

http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D1%83%D0%BD%D0%BA%D1%86%D0%B8%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%8F_%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%BF%D0%BB%D1%91%D0%BD%D0%BD%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8C

I guess this is for compatibility. However for readability I want to copy it straight away with proper Unicode characters.

What and how should I tweak to make that possible?

Edit: The answers are good, but they are hacky. Are there any settings in about:config?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Try setting the network.standard-url.escape-utf8 option via about:config.

Possible values and their effects:

  • true - Escape UTF-8 URLs. (Default)
  • false - Do not escape UTF-8 URLs.
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1  
Doesn't seem to be working anymore. I'm using FF28. The option is there but it gives no effect. – Adobe Jul 11 '14 at 12:20
    
For the record for future visitors, setting network.standard-url.escape-utf8 to false does seem to work as of FF40. – sundar Aug 29 '15 at 19:50
    
This was the default on some version, but was changed because it breaks some websites: bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=552273 – Ciro Santilli 六四事件 法轮功 包卓轩 Oct 7 '15 at 4:58

Yes, browsers do that -- it's URL encoding and actually a quite useful thing.

I see two choices

  1. Copy only a fragment of the URL, it will not be URL encoded.

  2. Decode the URL encoding. In Unix, you can open a terminal, and type

    echo -n -e "$(echo http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D1%83%D0%BD%D0%BA%D1%86%D0%B8%DB0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%8F_%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%BF%D0%BB%D1%91%D0%BD%D0%BD%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8C | sed 's/+/ /g;s/%\(..\)/\\x\1/g;')"
    
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It's not rubbish, it's URL encoded. However here's the trick:
You can edit the URL in the address bar (by adding and then removing a character), and the copy-pasting should preserve the encoding.

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Why the downvote? oO – m4573r Sep 28 '12 at 8:56
    
Interesting "trick". Seems to work in Firefox v.32, however unfortunately not in Chromium v.37 (~ Google Chrome). Or does it? – nutty about natty Sep 9 '14 at 13:28
  1. Copy the URL from the address bar

  2. Paste it here.

  3. Press the Decode button.

  4. Copy the decoded URL and use it elsewhere.

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