unable to print Unicode characters in Python 3

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Mon Jan 26 21:58:41 CET 2009

jefm wrote:
> Hi,
> while checking out Python 3, I read that all text strings are now
> natively Unicode.


> In the Python language reference (http://docs.python.org/3.0/reference/
> lexical_analysis.html) I read that I can show Unicode character in
> several ways.
> "\uxxxx" supposedly allows me to specify the Unicode character by hex
> number and the format  "\N{name}" allows me to specify by Unicode
> name.

These are ways to *specify* unicode chars on input.

> Neither seem to work for me.

If you separate text creation from text printing, you would see that 
they do.  Try

> What am I doing wrong ?

Using the interactive interpreter running in a Windows console.

> Please see error output below where I am trying to show the EURO sign
> (http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/20ac/index.htm):
> Python 3.0 (r30:67507, Dec  3 2008, 20:14:27) [MSC v.1500 32 bit
> (Intel)] on win32
> Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>>> print('\u20ac')
> Traceback (most recent call last):
>   File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
>   File "c:\python30\lib\io.py", line 1491, in write
>     b = encoder.encode(s)
>   File "c:\python30\lib\encodings\cp437.py", line 19, in encode
>     return codecs.charmap_encode(input,self.errors,encoding_map)[0]
> UnicodeEncodeError: 'charmap' codec can't encode character '\u20ac' in
> position 0: character maps to <undefined>

With the standard console, I get the same.  But with IDLE, using the 
same Python build but through a different interface

 >>> s='\u20ac'
 >>> len(s)
 >>> str(s)
'€' # euro sign

I have fiddled with the shortcut to supposed make it work better as 
claimed by posts found on the web, but to no avail.  Very frustrating 
since I have fonts on the system for at least all of the first 64K 
chars.  Scream at Microsoft or try to find or encourage a console 
replacement that Python could use.  In the meanwhile, use IDLE.  Not 
perfect for Unicode, but better.

Terry Jan Reedy

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