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How to encode/decode URLs to the UTF8 format (with %20 and so)

, 17 Jul 2007 CPOL
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This article shows how to encode/decode URLs to the UTF8 format (with %20 and so) if you have to have web support in your application.


This article will show you how to encode/decode URLs to the UTF-8 format. If you are writing an application that must have web support, and for example navigating a WebBrowser ActiveX control to a certain URL, you have to encode it, for there are many characters (e.g., Hebrew, accented Latin, spaces, and so on...) that cannot be in a URL.

I have written a class to do all the work, and it is the simplest to use. Enjoy!


URLs support only about 60 characters, and all other characters are written in the UTF-8 format, using the %XX hexadecimal format.

For more information about the main rules of URL encoding, you can have a look here.

Using the Code

I have included the source code in this article, and you can use it without any effort:

CUrlEncode cEncoder;
cEncoder.Encode(_T(" search"));
// This will result in
// This will result in"my search"

This class can deal with much more than spaces, and this is just a simple example.

The usage for the functions is as follows:

CString Encode(CString strURL, BOOL bEncodeReserved/*=FALSE*/);
CString Decode(CString strURL);

Here, bEncodeReserved means that you want to encode the reserved characters too. This parameter is dangerous for full URLs because it will also encode characters like '/', and will destroy your URL. But if you are encoding keywords, for example, you should set this parameter to TRUE.

That's about it, hope I helped.


  • 17th July, 2007: Initial post.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Daniel Cohen Gindi
Software Developer (Senior)
Israel Israel
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

GeneralThank YOU! Pinmemberdjonik156216-Jun-11 21:54 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberbloodaxis15-Sep-10 11:13 
QuestionHow I can use your code to convert char* UTF-8 to wchar string(decode in java) PinmemberMember 327298422-Mar-09 5:20 
GeneralSome easier way to encode and decode the URLs [modified] Pinmemberelo12330-Dec-08 23:45 
GeneralKorean/Chinese/Japanese support PinmemberTaein Kim4-Sep-07 3:53 
GeneralRe: Korean/Chinese/Japanese support PinmemberKenny Zhao29-Sep-07 20:04 
GeneralRe: Korean/Chinese/Japanese support Pinmemberchris_cppteam26-Nov-08 15:12 
GeneralRe: Korean/Chinese/Japanese support PinmemberNever Winter20-Jul-08 19:04 
GeneralRe: Korean/Chinese/Japanese support PinmemberDaniel Cohen Gindi20-Jul-08 20:58 
GeneralAdditional reserverd characters PinmemberFernando Sarlenga25-Jul-07 5:23 
GeneralRe: Additional reserverd characters PinmemberDaniel Cohen Gindi25-Jul-07 7:34 
GeneralDecoding [modified] PinmemberDaniel Cohen Gindi17-Jul-07 21:03 

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