ISO/IEC 8859

"ISO-8" redirects here. For the ISO standard about periodicals, see ISO 8.

ISO/IEC 8859 is a joint ISO and IEC series of standards for 8-bit character encodings. The series of standards consists of numbered parts, such as ISO/IEC 8859-1, ISO/IEC 8859-2, etc. There are 15 parts, excluding the abandoned ISO/IEC 8859-12. The ISO working group maintaining this series of standards has been disbanded.

ISO/IEC 8859 parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 were originally Ecma International standard ECMA-94.


While the bit patterns of the 95 printable ASCII characters are sufficient to exchange information in modern English, most other languages that use Latin alphabets need additional symbols not covered by ASCII. ISO/IEC 8859 sought to remedy this problem by utilizing the eighth bit in an 8-bit byte to allow positions for another 96 printable characters. Early encodings were limited to 7 bits because of restrictions of some data transmission protocols, and partially for historical reasons. However, more characters were needed than could fit in a single 8-bit character encoding, so several mappings were developed, including at least ten suitable for various Latin alphabets.

The ISO/IEC 8859-n encodings only contain printable characters, and were designed to be used in conjunction with control characters mapped to the unassigned bytes. To this end a series of encodings registered with the IANA add the C0 control set (control characters mapped to bytes 0 to 31) from ISO 646 and the C1 control set (control characters mapped to bytes 128 to 159) from ISO 6429, resulting in full 8-bit character maps with most, if not all, bytes assigned. These sets have ISO-8859-n as their preferred MIME name or, in cases where a preferred MIME name isn't specified, their canonical name. Many people use the terms ISO/IEC 8859-n and ISO-8859-n interchangeably. ISO/IEC 8859-11 did not get such a charset assigned, presumably because it was almost identical to TIS 620.


The ISO/IEC 8859 standard is designed for reliable information exchange, not typography; the standard omits symbols needed for high-quality typography, such as optional ligatures, curly quotation marks, dashes, etc. As a result, high-quality typesetting systems often use proprietary or idiosyncratic extensions on top of the ASCII and ISO/IEC 8859 standards, or use Unicode instead.

As a rule of thumb, if a character or symbol was not already part of a widely used data-processing character set and was also not usually provided on typewriter keyboards for a national language, it didn't get in. Hence the directional double quotation marks « and » used for some European languages were included, but not the directional double quotation marks and used for English and some other languages. French didn't get its œ and Œ ligatures because they could be typed as 'oe'. Ÿ, needed for all-caps text, was left out as well. These characters were, however, included later with ISO/IEC 8859-15, which also introduced the new euro sign character €. Likewise Dutch did not get the 'ij' and 'IJ' letters, because Dutch speakers had become used to typing these as two letters instead. Romanian did not initially get its ‹Ș›/‹ș› and ‹Ț›/‹ț› (with comma) letters, because these letters were initially unified with ‹Ş›/‹ş› and ‹Ţ›/‹ţ› (with cedilla) by the Unicode Consortium, considering the shapes with comma beneath to be glyph variants of the shapes with cedilla. However, the letters with explicit comma below were later added to the Unicode standard and are also in ISO/IEC 8859-16.

Most of the ISO/IEC 8859 encodings provide diacritic marks required for various European languages using the Latin script. Others provide non-Latin alphabets: Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic and Thai. Most of the encodings contain only spacing characters although the Thai, Hebrew, and Arabic ones do also contain combining characters. However, the standard makes no provision for the scripts of East Asian languages (CJK), as their ideographic writing systems require many thousands of code points. Although it uses Latin based characters, Vietnamese does not fit into 96 positions (without using combining diacritics) either. Each Japanese syllabic alphabet (hiragana or katakana, see Kana) would fit, but like several other alphabets of the world they aren't encoded in the ISO/IEC 8859 system.

The parts of ISO/IEC 8859

ISO/IEC 8859 is divided into the following parts:

Part Name Revisions Description
Part 1 Latin-1
Western European
1987, 1998 Perhaps the most widely used part of ISO/IEC 8859, covering most Western European languages: Danish (partial),[1] Dutch (partial),[2] English, Faeroese, Finnish (partial),[3] French (partial),[3] German, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Rhaeto-Romanic, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Catalan, and Swedish. Languages from other parts of the world are also covered, including: Eastern European Albanian, Southeast Asian Indonesian, as well as the African languages Afrikaans and Swahili. The missing euro sign and capital Ÿ are in the revised version ISO/IEC 8859-15 (see below). The corresponding IANA character set is ISO-8859-1.
Part 2 Latin-2
Central European
1987, 1999 Supports those Central and Eastern European languages that use the Latin alphabet, including Bosnian, Polish, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Serbian, and Hungarian. The missing euro sign can be found in version ISO/IEC 8859-16.
Part 3 Latin-3
South European
1988, 1999 Turkish, Maltese, and Esperanto. Largely superseded by ISO/IEC 8859-9 for Turkish and Unicode for Esperanto.
Part 4 Latin-4
North European
1988, 1998 Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Greenlandic, and Sami.
Part 5 Latin/Cyrillic 1988, 1999 Covers mostly Slavic languages that use a Cyrillic alphabet, including Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian (partial).[4]
Part 6 Latin/Arabic 1987, 1999 Covers the most common Arabic language characters. Doesn't support other languages using the Arabic script. Needs to be BiDi and cursive joining processed for display.
Part 7 Latin/Greek 1987, 2003 Covers the modern Greek language (monotonic orthography). Can also be used for Ancient Greek written without accents or in monotonic orthography, but lacks the diacritics for polytonic orthography. These were introduced with Unicode.
Part 8 Latin/Hebrew 1988, 1999 Covers the modern Hebrew alphabet as used in Israel. In practice two different encodings exist, logical order (needs to be BiDi processed for display) and visual (left-to-right) order (in effect, after bidi processing and line breaking).
Part 9 Latin-5
1989, 1999 Largely the same as ISO/IEC 8859-1, replacing the rarely used Icelandic letters with Turkish ones.
Part 10 Latin-6
1992, 1998 A rearrangement of Latin-4. Considered more useful for Nordic languages. Baltic languages use Latin-4 more.
Part 11 Latin/Thai 2001 Contains characters needed for the Thai language. Virtually identical to TIS 620.
Part 12 Latin/Devanagari N/A The work in making a part of 8859 for Devanagari was officially abandoned in 1997. ISCII and Unicode/ISO/IEC 10646 cover Devanagari.
Part 13 Latin-7
Baltic Rim
1998 Added some characters for Baltic languages which were missing from Latin-4 and Latin-6.
Part 14 Latin-8
1998 Covers Celtic languages such as Gaelic and the Breton language.
Part 15 Latin-9 1999 A revision of 8859-1 that removes some little-used symbols, replacing them with the euro sign and the letters Š, š, Ž, ž, Œ, œ, and Ÿ, which completes the coverage of French, Finnish and Estonian.
Part 16 Latin-10
South-Eastern European
2001 Intended for Albanian, Croatian, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Slovene, but also Finnish, French, German and Irish Gaelic (new orthography). The focus lies more on letters than symbols. The currency sign is replaced with the euro sign.
  1. Missing several accented vowels including Ǿ and ǿ. These can be replaced with non-accented vowels at the cost of increased ambiguity.
  2. only the IJ/ij (letter IJ) is missing, which is usually represented as IJ.
  3. 1 2 missing characters are in ISO/IEC 8859-15.
  4. 8859-5 misses the Ґ/ґ letter, which was reintroduced into the Ukrainian alphabet in 1990.

Each part of ISO/IEC 8859 is designed to support languages that often borrow from each other, so the characters needed by each language are usually accommodated by a single part. However, there are some characters and language combinations that are not accommodated without transcriptions. Efforts were made to make conversions as smooth as possible. For example, German has all of its seven special characters at the same positions in all Latin variants (1–4, 9, 10, 13–16), and in many positions the characters only differ in the diacritics between the sets. In particular, variants 1–4 were designed jointly, and have the property that every encoded character appears either at a given position or not at all.


Comparison of the various parts (1–16) of ISO/IEC 8859
BinaryOctDecHex 123456789101113141516
1010 0000240160A0 Non-breaking space (NBSP)
1010 0001241161A1 ¡ĄĦĄЁ  ¡Ą¡Ą
1010 0010242162A2 ¢˘ĸЂ ¢¢Ē¢¢ą
1010 0011243163A3 £Ł£ŖЃ £Ģ£Ł
1010 0100 244164A4 ¤Є¤¤Ī¤Ċ
1010 0101245165A5 ¥Ľ ĨЅ ¥Ĩċ¥
1010 0110246166A6 ¦ŚĤĻІ ¦Ķ¦Š
1010 0111247167A7 §Ї §§
1010 1000250168A8 ¨Ј ¨ĻØš
1010 1001251169A9 ©ŠİŠЉ ©Đ©
1010 1010252170AA ªŞĒЊ ͺתŠŖªȘ
1010 1011253171AB «ŤĞĢЋ «Ŧ««
1010 1100254172AC ¬ŹĴŦЌ،¬Ž¬¬Ź
1010 1101255173AD soft hyphen (SHY)SHY
1010 1110256174AE ®Ž ŽЎ  ®Ū®ź
1010 1111257175AF ¯Ż¯Џ ¯ŊÆŸ¯Ż
1011 0000260176B0 °А °°°
1011 0001261177B1 ±ąħąБ ±ą±±
1011 0010262178B2 ²˛²˛В ²ē²Ġ²Č
1011 0011263179B3 ³ł³ŗГ ³ģ³ġ³ł
1011 0100264180B4 ´Д ΄´īŽ
1011 0101265181B5 µľµĩЕ ΅µĩµµ
1011 0110266182B6 śĥļЖ Άķ
1011 0111267183B7 ·ˇ·ˇЗ ···
1011 1000270184B8 ¸И Έ¸ļøž
1011 1001271185B9 ¹šıšЙ Ή¹đ¹¹č
1011 1010272186BA ºşēК Ί÷ºšŗºș
1011 1011273187BB »ťğģЛ؛»ŧ»»
1011 1100274188BC ¼źĵŧМ Ό¼ž¼Œ
1011 1101275189BD ½˝½ŊН ½½œ
1011 1110276190BE ¾ž žО Ύ¾ū¾Ÿ
1011 1111277191BF ¿żŋП؟Ώ ¿ŋæ¿ż
1100 0000300192C0 ÀŔÀĀР ΐ ÀĀĄÀ
1100 0001301193C1 ÁСءΑ ÁĮÁ
1100 0010302194C2 ÂТآΒ ÂĀÂ
1100 0011303195C3 ÃĂ ÃУأΓ ÃĆÃĂ
1100 0100304196C4 ÄФؤΔ ÄÄ
1100 0101305197C5 ÅĹĊÅХإΕ ÅÅĆ
1100 0110306198C6 ÆĆĈÆЦئΖ ÆĘÆ
1100 0111307199C7 ÇĮЧاΗ ÇĮĒÇ
1100 1000310200C8 ÈČÈČШبΘ ÈČČÈ
1100 1001311201C9 ÉЩةΙ ÉÉ
1100 1010312202CA ÊĘÊĘЪتΚ ÊĘŹÊ
1100 1011313203CB ËЫثΛ ËĖË
1100 1100314204CC ÌĚÌĖЬجΜ ÌĖĢÌ
1100 1101315205CD ÍЭحΝ ÍĶÍ
1100 1110316206CE ÎЮخΞ ÎĪÎ
1100 1111317207CF ÏĎÏĪЯدΟ ÏĻÏ
BinaryOctDecHex 123456789101113141516
1101 0000320208D0 ÐĐ ĐаذΠ ĞЊŴÐ
1101 0001321209D1 ÑŃÑŅбرΡ ÑŅŃÑŃ
1101 0010322210D2 ÒŇÒŌвز  ÒŌŅÒ
1101 0011323211D3 ÓĶгسΣ ÓÓ
1101 0100324212D4 ÔдشΤ ÔŌÔ
1101 0101325213D5 ÕŐĠÕеصΥ ÕŐ
1101 0110326214D6 ÖжضΦ ÖÖ
1101 0111327215D7 ×зطΧ ×Ũ×׌
1101 1000330216D8 ØŘĜØиظΨ ØŲØŰ
1101 1001331217D9 ÙŮÙŲйعΩ ÙŲŁÙ
1101 1010332218DA ÚкغΪ ÚŚÚ
1101 1011333219DB ÛŰÛл Ϋ Û ŪÛ
1101 1100334220DC Üм ά Ü Ü
1101 1101335221DD ÝŬŨн έ İÝ ŻÝĘ
1101 1110336222DE ÞŢŜŪо ή ŞÞ ŽŶÞȚ
1101 1111337223DF ßп ίß฿ß
1110 0000340224E0 àŕàāрـΰאàāąà
1110 0001341225E1 áсفαבáįá
1110 0010342226E2 âтقβגâāâ
1110 0011343227E3 ãă ãуكγדãćãă
1110 0100344228E4 äфلδהää
1110 0101345229E5 åĺċåхمεוååć
1110 0110346230E6 æćĉæцنζזæęæ
1110 0111347231E7 çįчهηחçįēç
1110 1000350232E8 èčèčшوθטèččè
1110 1001351233E9 éщىιיéé
1110 1010352234EA êęêęъيκךêęźê
1110 1011353235EB ëыًλכëėë
1110 1100354236EC ìěìėьٌμלìėģì
1110 1101355237ED íэٍνםíķí
1110 1110356238EE îюَξמîīî
1110 1111357239EF ïďïīяُοןïļï
1111 0000360240F0 ðđ đِπנğðšŵðđ
1111 0001361241F1 ñńñņёّρסñņńñń
1111 0010362242F2 òňòōђْςעòōņò
1111 0011363243F3 óķѓ σףóó
1111 0100364244F4 ôє τפôōô
1111 0101365245F5 õőġõѕ υץõő
1111 0110366246F6 öі φצöö
1111 0111367247F7 ÷ї χק÷ũ÷÷ś
1111 1000370248F8 øřĝøј ψרøųøű
1111 1001371249F9 ùůùųљ ωשùųłù
1111 1010372250FA úњ ϊתúśú
1111 1011373251FB ûűûћ ϋ ûūû
1111 1100374252FC üќ ό ü ü
1111 1101375253FD ýŭũ§ ύLRMıý żýę
1111 1110376254FE þţŝūў ώRLMşþ žŷþț
1111 1111377255FF ÿ˙џ   ÿĸ ÿ
BinaryOctDecHex 123456789101113141516

At position 0xA0 there's always the non breaking space and 0xAD is mostly the soft hyphen, which only shows at line breaks. Other empty fields are either unassigned or the system used isn't able to display them.

There are new additions as ISO/IEC 8859-7:2003 and ISO/IEC 8859-8:1999 versions. LRM stands for left-to-right mark (U+200E) and RLM stands for right-to-left mark (U+200F).

Relationship to Unicode and the UCS

Since 1991, the Unicode Consortium has been working with ISO and IEC to develop the Unicode Standard and ISO/IEC 10646: the Universal Character Set (UCS) in tandem. Newer editions of ISO/IEC 8859 express characters in terms of their Unicode/UCS names and the U+nnnn notation, effectively causing each part of ISO/IEC 8859 to be a Unicode/UCS character encoding scheme that maps a very small subset of the UCS to single 8-bit bytes. The first 256 characters in Unicode and the UCS are identical to those in ISO/IEC-8859-1 (Latin-1).

Single-byte character sets including the parts of ISO/IEC 8859 and derivatives of them were favoured throughout the 1990s, having the advantages of being well-established and more easily implemented in software: the equation of one byte to one character is simple and adequate for most single-language applications, and there are no combining characters or variant forms. As Unicode-enabled operating systems became more widespread, ISO/IEC 8859 and other legacy encodings became less popular. While remnants of ISO 8859 and single-byte character models remain entrenched in many operating systems, programming languages, data storage systems, networking applications, display hardware, and end-user application software, most modern computing applications use Unicode internally, and rely on conversion tables to map to and from other encodings, when necessary.

Development status

The ISO/IEC 8859 standard was maintained by ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 2, Working Group 3 (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2/WG 3). In June 2004, WG 3 disbanded, and maintenance duties were transferred to SC 2. The standard is not currently being updated, as the Subcommittee's only remaining working group, WG 2, is concentrating on development of Unicode's Universal Coded Character Set.

See also


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