PeopleSoft, iRec, Taleo - Bullets and quotes appearing as question marks or other odd characters

Applies to: 

PeopleSoft
e-Business iRec
Taleo

Symptoms

After processing text uploaded or pasted into pages, funny characters are seen in place of quotes, bullets, etc. 
 

Cause

Microsoft Word has a feature called "Smart Quotes".  If turned on, it automatically replaces any quotes typed in by the user with its own special character.  While it looks the same to the end user, the internal presentation is not the same as the standard double-quote.  Certain character sets such as we8iso8859 cannot handle this.  Oracle Development has reviewed the Unicode and ISO encoding charts, and for the  "smart quote", database encoding does NOT have a representation for the beginning and end double quotes equivalent.  That is why you are seeing this problem.  The odd character representation is valid.  This is not a bug and will occur in other applications as well.  This is a uniform issue across most applications. The data is “encoded” upon saving by the application or integration middleware.

Solution:

There are two possible solutions to avoid this problem.

 

  1. Use correct database character set and configure middle tier character set as well. 

    The characters causing this problem don't exist in WE8ISO8859P1 character set, but they are in WE8MSWIN1252 or UTF8 which are super set of WE8ISO8859P1.  Use these character set as database character set to handle these characters.  Set the appropriate middle tier character set which can be specified in the ICX:IANA Client Encoding profile option. In the case of WE8MSWIN1252, the value should be Windows-1252, for UTF8, match the value with UTF-8.  NOTE:  Please ensure you do not change to a character set so a value NOT supported by your application.
     
  2. Do not directly copy and paste from MS Word to an html form. 

    Instead of direct copying and pasting, copy from MS Word then paste it to a simple text editor. (Notepad and Wordpad doesn't work for this solution in some Operating systems.  It is recommended to use a 3rd party text editor like UltaEdit or Texpad).  After pasting to the text editor, copy the pasted words again and the paste it an html form.  Or, while in the Word document save to a plain text document choosing MS-DOS for the text encoding.   Then open the newly created plain text file (.txt) and cut and then paste into the html form.

    If you must use an external source as the starting point, please "clean" the text first by using a plain-text document, prior to entering the system.  Please refer to the steps below:

    1. Open the originating document (e.g. such as a Word or RTF document, website, etc.) that includes your text.
    2. Copy the text from the originating document. 
    3. Paste the text into a new plain-text document (such as Microsoft Notepad).
    4. Copy the text from the plain-text document.
    5. Paste the text into the page within the system.
    6. Save
     
  3.  Turn the function off in MS Word when you create a document.

    These characters you type in are coming from MS Word's AutoFormat function. When you create a document, if you turn off the function, you don't get these characters. Search Microsoft's online support for how to replace a "string quotation marks" with "smart quotation marks".

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