I'm trying to extract data from Excel spreadsheets. I'm pretty sure most of the data in these spreadsheets is encoded as ISO 8859-1. Because this data is going into an XML file, and from there into a MySQL database, I'm trying to do The Right Thing and coerce the data into Unicode as early as possible.

Here's the problem:
Some of the data appears to be in a different encoding. As a specific example, it sometimes contains a "—" (that's a em-dash character, hopefully) which gets extracted as ^S (CTRL-S, try typing that in an xterm :) ). To my knowledge, this isn't in ISO 8859-1.

At the moment, I'm writing character-specific code that processes each character on a case-by-case basis. E.g. I'm converting Excel's rendition of em dash to "--". Is this the best way of doing it? should I be decodeing from a different character set?

Update: It looks like the em dash character is in Windows-1252, a superset of ISO 8859-1... perhaps that's the encoding I'm seeing... but using "cp1252" as the argument to decode doesn't seem to fix the problem.

davis
Kids, you tried your hardest, and you failed miserably. The lesson is: Never try.

In reply to What to do when converting Excel-supplied data to Unicode by davis

Title:
Use:  <p> text here (a paragraph) </p>
and:  <code> code here </code>
to format your post; it's "PerlMonks-approved HTML":



  • Posts are HTML formatted. Put <p> </p> tags around your paragraphs. Put <code> </code> tags around your code and data!
  • Titles consisting of a single word are discouraged, and in most cases are disallowed outright.
  • Read Where should I post X? if you're not absolutely sure you're posting in the right place.
  • Please read these before you post! —
  • Posts may use any of the Perl Monks Approved HTML tags:
    a, abbr, b, big, blockquote, br, caption, center, col, colgroup, dd, del, div, dl, dt, em, font, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, hr, i, ins, li, ol, p, pre, readmore, small, span, spoiler, strike, strong, sub, sup, table, tbody, td, tfoot, th, thead, tr, tt, u, ul, wbr
  • You may need to use entities for some characters, as follows. (Exception: Within code tags, you can put the characters literally.)
            For:     Use:
    & &amp;
    < &lt;
    > &gt;
    [ &#91;
    ] &#93;
  • Link using PerlMonks shortcuts! What shortcuts can I use for linking?
  • See Writeup Formatting Tips and other pages linked from there for more info.