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Web Design in a Nutshell by Jennifer Niederst

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Character Entities

Characters not found in the normal alphanumeric character set, such as © or &, must be specified in HTML using character entities. Using keyboard commands (such as Option-g for the © symbol) within your HTML document will not produce the character when the document is rendered in a browser (in fact, the browser will generally display the numeric entity for the character).

Character entities can be defined by name (&name;) or by numeric value (&#nnn;). The browser interprets the string to display the proper character. Named entities are preferable because numeric values may be interpreted differently on different platforms.

Table 5.5 presents the defined standard, proposed, and several nonstandard, but generally supported, character entities for HTML. Not all 256 characters in the ISO character set appear in the table. Missing ones are not recognized by the browser as either named or numeric entities.

Entities for which the conformance column is blank are part of the HTML 2.0 and later standards and will work with nearly all available browsers. Characters whose conformance column contains “4.0” are supported in the HTML 4.0 Specification only. As of this writing, they are supported by versions 4.0 of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. An “N” in the conformance column indicates that the character is a nonstandard entity.

Table 5-5. Character Entities

Number

Name

Symbol

Description

Conformance

	

  

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