charset (HTML attribute)

Depr. Version
Browser support (more…)
IE8 FF3.5 SA4 OP10 CH2
None None None None None


charset="character encoding scheme"


The charset attribute is intended to identify the character set used in the document that’s referenced within the link element.


This example indicates that the referenced document is written in Japanese:

<link href="okinawa.html" rel="parent" charset="euc-jp"/>


The value taken by charset is a standard character set encoding name (e.g. "UTF-8") defined by IANA.


Internet Explorer Firefox Safari Opera Chrome
5.5 6.0 7.0 8.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 3.0 3.5 1.3 2.0 3.1 4.0 9.2 9.5 10.0 2.0
None None None None None None None None None None None None None None None None None

In testing this attribute, I was unable to see any difference in behaviour/appearance regardless of whether the attribute was used or not. However, one reader has stated that in his tests that omitting this attribute would cause generated content to appear as gibberish if certain conditions were all true (namely that the encoding of the document and the linked style sheet differed and the server was not sending the correct encoding information in the Content-Type header). Adding in a charset that used the same encoding value as the linked stylesheet corrected the problem, he reported.

User-contributed notes

by lloydi
Mon, 04 Jan 2010 15:29:50 GMT

@AutisticCuckoo I tried to recreate the example you used, but for whatever reason all the parameters were not lining up and I couldn't get it to break, hence was unable to fix again using charset. However, I will update the reference with your wording, with caveats

by AutisticCuckoo
Wed, 12 Mar 2008 09:01:25 GMT

At least Firefox and Opera do honour this attribute, which can be evidenced if you use generated content. If the external style sheet uses a different character encoding than the document that links to it (and the server doesn't send encoding information in the Content-Type header), the generated content will be gibberish if it contains characters outside the US-ASCII repertoire. Adding a CHARSET attribute to the LINK element fixes the problem in FF2.0 and Opera 9.

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