When I saved a text file using a notepad with ANSI, I lost all of the information since it became all question marks. Is there a way to convert it back to Unicode to retrieve the text?

  • You can try something like what's described in this answer: superuser.com/a/49129/400911 (if you are on linux). Or look for a "reopen with encoding UTF-8" option in your editor, notepad++ has something like this IIRC. – cartographer Dec 27 '14 at 20:11
  • There is no such thing as “ANSI”. – tchrist Dec 28 '14 at 0:58
  • @tchrist American National Standard Insitute in an encoding it's usually referring to a local code page (ASCII+extended characters) encoding. What is ANSI format?. A bit of a late reply but this was pushed to the front page. – Seth Feb 17 '17 at 11:36

Once the characters are converted to ? marks they cannot be converted back: a ? mark is just a ? mark, it doesn't know where it came from. If you replace all the letters a, b, c in a text with x, you cannot restore the original a, b, c letters.

Your only option is to recover from a previous copy if you have one.


You can try to open your text document in notepad++. As commented by @cartographer

Go to encoding menu and chose Encode in UTF-8 option.

It may help you to retrieve your text back.

Or you can try with all options, may some encoding format convert your text to origional one . :)


If you write a text document in UTF-8, you must save it as UTF-8 otherwise this happens.

So no, you have to restart whatever you did.

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