How to change charset in Debian/Ubuntu

2010-01-11

This is a short guide on how to change charset in Debian and Ubuntu. I myself have done this in Debian. The guide demonstrates the use of the text-based wizard which can be used from the terminal. There are probably a graphical tool for doing the same thing but they are not discussed here.

Start by running the following command as root user:

dpkg-reconfigure locales

Choose which charsets you want from the list. You check or uncheck by pressing [Space]. Figure 1 shows an example of how it might look like.

dpkg-reconfigure locales

Figure 1: The list of all available charsets.

In the next step, you choose a charset from those you selected to use by default in your system. Figure 2 shows an example of how it might look like.

dpkg-reconfigure_locales2

Figure 2: The list of all selected charsets where you choose which one to be the default.

In order for your changes to take effect, restart the terminal. If you use a terminal in a graphical environment, it may be enough to simply close it down and open a new one. If you’re in a CLI, you probably need to log off and log back in for it to take effect.