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


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


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?

  • 1
    From the multiple answers, the easiest way seems to be: Copy only a fragment of the URL, and more completely: Don't select the whole URL in the address bar, either exclude one character, or add one (e.g. a space at the end). Then add/remove this character after the paste.
    – mins
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 7:40
  • related: stackoverflow.com/questions/18176661/… Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 1:23

7 Answers 7


The setting was replaced with browser.urlbar.decodeURLsOnCopy in Firefox 53+. Set it to true.

For copying in Firefox on Android see https://android.stackexchange.com/q/224951/17612

  • 4
    It works only in url-bar, if I just copy link from web-page and past – I still get %-things. Does Firefox have addon like Chrome's? Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 12:45
  • @stegetsj I'm not aware of such extension, unfortunately. I don't think I'll use it but if you find one and post it as a separate answer I'll definitely upvote it.
    – int_ua
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 5:50

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.
  • 6
    Doesn't seem to be working anymore. I'm using FF28. The option is there but it gives no effect.
    – Adobe
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 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 R
    Commented Aug 29, 2015 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 Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 4:58
  • Works fine in FF 45.
    – Aleksey K
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 22:02
  • 6
    The setting's name was changed, see this answer. Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 19:57

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;')"
  • 1
    This should be the default answer.
    – Jeanno
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 2:42
  • 1
    Your idea regarding copying a part of the URL is extremely helpful! (especially because on my FF v50.0, the about:config setting did not change anything). Regarding the second option you wrote, Is there a command for Windows users too?
    – spaceman
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 9:33

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.

  • Why the downvote? oO
    – m4573r
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 8:56
  • 1
    Interesting "trick". Seems to work in Firefox v.32, however unfortunately not in Chromium v.37 (~ Google Chrome). Or does it? Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 13:28
  • @nuttyaboutnatty works for me in Chromium 76.
    – Ruslan
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 13:32

Use this key sequence to copy UTF-8 URL:

Ctrl-L, Home(or End), Space(or a letter/symbol), Backspace, Ctrl-L, Ctrl-C
  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.

  • 3
    Too complex to just copy the URL by Ctrl+L, Ctrl+C without touching the pointing device.
    – Aleksey F.
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 7:06

firefox quantum 62.0


browser.urlbar.decodeURLsOnCopy: true

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