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Hebrew fonts showing as gibberish

Evan Cohen 4 weeks ago updated 3 weeks ago 6

I use Hebcal for my synagogue's website in Israel now for several years, in CSV format (I use wordpress).  However, when downloading the Hebrew calendar today for the coming year, the Hebrew font doesn't work.  It comes out as gibberish characters. 
׳¨ײ¹׳׳©׳ ׳—׳•ײ¹׳“ײ¶׳©׳ ׳©ײ°׳׳‘ײ¸׳˜
Did I do something wrong?  I have lots of Hebrew fonts on my PC (since I live in Israel).

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Thanks for writing back and thanks for providing that additional detail! I am glad to hear that The Events Calendar can correctly import Unicode CSV files even if Windows 7 cannot.


For what it's worth, we have tested the majority of the Hebcal.com website and download functionality on Windows 10 and Windows 11 so we are confident that it shows up correctly on those operating systems.


At this point Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft, so perhaps the best long-term solution here is for you to upgrade your home PC to a newer version?

Brilliant.  I just tested it here on my shul computer (which is a Windows 11 PC, using Excel 2016) and indeed the Hebrew characters showed up like they should.   Yishar Koach, and just made a donation to say thanks!

Thanks for posting Evan!

We were curious so we did a bit more investigation on our end and actually we were able to reproduce your original problem on a Windows 11 PC using Excel 2021. Much to our huge surprise, a current version of Windows and a current version of Excel continue to have this issue. They are not handling UTF-8 (Unicode) CSV files correctly!

To help to remedy this situation, we have made a change to our CSV file export. We now include a Unicode Byte Order Mark at the beginning of the CSV file which helps Windows to detect that the CSV file contains Unicode data. This should improve CSV file imports for Hebrew and other languages the Hebcal.com website supports (Russian, Spanish, French, Polish, Hungarian, etc)

If you download a fresh CSV file from Hebcal.com today you may find that the Hebrew text now shows up correctly in Excel. (You may need to download it again in an Incognito/Private browser window to ensure that you aren't getting a cached version of the file.)

My mistake - I'm running Windows 10 at home, not Windows 7.  So Windows 10 shows gibberish when opened as a CSV, but again, WordPress had no problem recognizing. it.  BTW - when I opened the file in Excel online (Microsoft 365), it still came out as gibberish.  See the attached screen shot.  The reason I share all this is to let any one know (via the thread) that evening if you see gibberish, if importing to WordPress, it should still work and not to worry!

Answer
Answered

Thanks for writing back and thanks for providing that additional detail! I am glad to hear that The Events Calendar can correctly import Unicode CSV files even if Windows 7 cannot.


For what it's worth, we have tested the majority of the Hebcal.com website and download functionality on Windows 10 and Windows 11 so we are confident that it shows up correctly on those operating systems.


At this point Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft, so perhaps the best long-term solution here is for you to upgrade your home PC to a newer version?

Thanks for getting back to me.  The reason I use CSV is because the calendar program I use for WordPress (called "The Events Calendar") only allows for CSV file import, unless you pay extra for an additional add-on that allows for imports such as iCalendar, Google calendar, etc.  My computer at home is running on Windows 7, and the version of Excel is 2016.  
However, as an experiment, till I heard back from you, I imported just a weeks worth of data, to see what would happen.  Although in Excel the Hebrew showed up as gibberish (apparently unicode format, after some research), The Events Calendar understood how to interpret the data and it showed up correctly on my the synagogue's calendar!  

Wanted to share this for others as well so they know that if they run into the same issue, not to worry if Excel shows the Hebrew incorrectly.  The site you're important to may understand how to convert the "gibberish" back into Hebrew characters.

Shanah tovah!

Under review

Thanks for using Hebcal. Sorry to hear you are having difficulty with Hebrew text in a CSV file export.

Perhaps you might be able to use another format, such as iCalendar? What program are you using to import the files into?

Also, what version of Windows on your PC?