Overview of locales and code pages

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ArcPad supports all the locales that are supported by the device’s operating system. ArcPad includes a number of language packs, which contain the translation of the user interface into a specific language. The list of available language packs is provided in the Read Me file included with ArcPad. The language packs included with ArcPad are automatically installed on the PC but need to be individually installed on Windows Mobile devices. Once a language pack has been installed on a device, it can be activated by selecting the locale on the Locale tab of the ArcPad Options dialog box.

To use a language pack with ArcPad, the locale and code set must be supported on the device. The Locale tab of the ArcPad Options dialog box only lists the locales supported on the device. Your device’s operating system does not need to be localized for a particular language to use the language in ArcPad, but the operating system does need to support the language and code page. For example, you can install the Chinese fonts, or code pages, on an English Windows XP PC. Once you have done this, you can use the Chinese locale with ArcPad, even though the Windows XP operating system is still in English.

Similarly, you do not have to use a particular language pack for ArcPad to enter and view data in that language. ArcPad supports entering and displaying data in any language as long as the following two requirements are met:

Language support for shapefiles is determined by the code page associated with the shapefile. The default code page for shapefiles is 1252, i.e. Western European ANSI. You need to specify the code page for the shapefile if you intend to store data using any non-Western European language.

ArcPad AXF files use Unicode for storing characters. Since Unicode supports all languages, ArcPad AXF files support all languages. You do not need to set a code page for ArcPad AXF files.

Code pages

ArcPad automatically recognizes a shapefile’s code page if a supported language driver ID (LDID) is found in the header of the shapefile’s DBF table (in the 29th byte). If the code page is available on the system, it will be used to translate the attribute contents and field names into displayable characters.

If a valid LDID is not found in the header of the shapefile’s DBF table, ArcPad looks in the following places to determine the code page:


Universal Transformation Format (UTF-8) is a variable-length character encoding that is able to represent any character in the Unicode standard. The UTF-8 code page equivalent is 65001. Setting the code page for shapefiles to 65001 specifies that all attribute data in the shapefile’s dBASE file will be stored using Unicode encoding.

UTF-8 is the default code page for new shapefiles and QuickProject-generated shapefiles. The code page ID (UTF-8) is stored in a .cpg file associated with the shapefile. The name of the file is the same as the shapefile with a .cpg extension.

Specifying the code page for UTF-8 provides a number of advantages: