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Alteryx Designer Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.

How To: resolve errors in Designer for non-English characters


How To: resolve errors in Designer for non-English characters

Characters that are not on a standard English keyboard may need translation into Unicode or a language-specific code page for Designer and database drivers to read them correctly.

Characters with incorrect encoding will often appear as boxes or question marks in the Designer Results screen and error messages.

Unicode characters take more bytes than English ASCII characters. Changing the column type and increasing the column size may be needed. In Designer, the column size is the number of characters, not the number of bytes. 


Check the input 

Start by checking the available options to translate the data to Unicode in the Input Data Tool. For files, look for the Code Page option. If the Unicode UTF-8 and UTF-16 options do not work, try the language-specific code page. 

idea Skyscrapers

Many databases have cast options with SQL statements to change the data type of a selected column if needed. When connecting to an Oracle database, there is an option Force SQL WChar Support that allows support of Unicode datatypes. 


idea Skyscrapers


idea Skyscrapers

This Alteryx Community article covers how Excel can be used to change data to Unicode before importing it in Designer.

Verify the data type and size 

If issues are still occurring, try connecting a Select Tool to the data to check the data types and size allocated for the columns.

String and V_String data types support only ASCII characters. These are characters seen on a standard English language keyboard. ASCII uses only one byte to represent each character.

The WString and V_WString data types support multi-byte Unicode characters. Unicode characters include African, Asian, European, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Russian languages (as well as a few others). 

Ensure the non-English characters are in a column with the WString or V_WString data types. The default column data type for imported data may not have sufficient size to accommodate the Unicode characters. Try increasing the column size if errors persist.

In this example, all the columns defaulted to a size of 255 bytes, but a larger column size could be needed since each character is more than one byte. 

idea Skyscrapers

When using a language-specific code page in the Input Data Tool, you might need to translate the data to Unicode before using the Output Data Tool as some connection drivers will not support language-specific encoding. The ConvertFromCodePage function is available for this purpose in tools with an Expression Builder. Also, there is a ConvertToCodePage option. For details, please see

Additional Resources 

11 - Bolide
11 - Bolide

Nice, I'm going to keep this in my back pocket now that I'm working in a global setting. Thanks!