PHP, UTF-8 encoding, CSV and Excel

Horrible combination, spent all day on this!
My goal was to take some data (which contain UTF-8 unicode characters), generate a CSV file using PHP and send it via mail. The problem is that Microsoft Excel doesn`t accept UTF-8 CSV files.
Some people suggest using mb_convert_encoding($contents, "ISO-8859-1", "UTF-8"); or mb_convert_encoding($contents, "UTF-16LE", "UTF-8");, neither worked for me, though I have multibyte extension installed
It seems that the solution is different by server setups. This solution worked for me:

$message= iconv("UTF-8","WINDOWS-1257",html_entity_decode( $message ,ENT_COMPAT,'utf-8'));

You might want to change “WINDOWS-1257” to something else, like WINDOWS-1255 or WINDOWS-1252 or ISO-8859-1, etc.. My server did not have the “iconv” function enabled, so I asked server administrator to enable it and it worked!

Author: Valters Bože

abstract person

13 thoughts on “PHP, UTF-8 encoding, CSV and Excel”

  1. header(‘Content-Description: File Transfer’);
    header(‘Content-Type: application/vnd.ms-excel’);
    header(‘Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=report-‘.date(‘Y-m-d’)’.csv’);
    header(‘Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary’);
    header(‘Expires: 0’);
    header(‘Cache-Control: must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0’);
    header(‘Pragma: public’);
    header(‘Content-Length: ‘. strlen($csv));
    echo chr(255) . chr(254) . mb_convert_encoding($csv, ‘UTF-16LE’, ‘UTF-8’);

    only this works for me

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