Difference Between ANSI and UTF-8

ANSI and UTF-8 are both character encoding schemes used in computer systems to represent text. They differ in a variety of aspects, including the number of characters they can represent, the size of the character set, and how characters are encoded.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) character encoding scheme is primarily used in the United States. Unicode Transformation Format 8-bit (UTF-8) is a variable-length character encoding method that may encode up to 1,112,064 characters.

Read this article to find out more about ANSI and UTF-8 and how they are different from each other.

What is ANSI?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) character encoding scheme is primarily used in the United States. It is also referred to as Windows 1252 or ISO 8859-1. ANSI may represent up to 256 characters, and each character is represented by one byte (8 bits). This means that ANSI can only represent a limited number of characters, namely those used in English and other Western European languages.

The ANSI character set's remaining 128 characters represent characters from Western European languages such as French, German, Spanish, and Italian. This includes special characters such as é, è, and others not found in the ASCII character set.

ANSI represents each character with one byte (8 bits), hence it can only represent a limited number of characters. The ANSI encoding's first 128 letters are identical to those of the ASCII encoding, which is a commonly used character encoding scheme that represents the basic Latin alphabet, digits, and other common characters.

The remaining 128 characters in the ANSI encoding are used to represent additional characters used in Western European languages, such as accented letters, punctuation marks, and other symbols. However, the ANSI encoding excludes characters from other languages, scripts, and symbols used in different parts of the world.

One of the most important disadvantages of the ANSI encoding is its limited support for non-English languages. This has led to the development of other character encoding schemes, such as UTF-8, which is a more adaptable encoding scheme capable of representing a much larger range of characters from many different types of languages and scripts.

Despite its drawbacks, ANSI is still commonly used in legacy software programs and systems developed before the widespread adoption of Unicode-based encoding techniques such as UTF-8.

What is UTF-8?

UTF-8, which stands for Unicode Transformation Format 8-bit, is a character encoding scheme developed to support the Unicode standard for character encoding. UTF-8 is a variable-length encoding scheme, which means it can represent a significantly wider variety of characters than fixed-length encoding schemes like ANSI.

UTF-8 can store up to 1,112,064 characters, which include characters from various languages and scripts as well as symbols, emojis, and other graphical components. Because it can support a wide range of characters and is compatible with most modern software and hardware systems, UTF-8 is a popular encoding scheme for web pages, email messages, and other digital content.

Depending on the character's Unicode code point, UTF-8 uses one to four bytes to represent it. The basic Latin alphabet, digits, and popular symbols, for example, are represented by one byte, although less common characters and symbols may require two, three, or four bytes.

UTF-8 uses a unique encoding scheme that allows it to be backwards-compatible with ASCII, indicating that ASCII-encoded text can be read as UTF-8-encoded text without problem. This makes it easy to switch old systems and software programs that use ASCII encoding to UTF-8 encoding while preserving data and functionality.

Difference between ANSI and UTF-8

The following table highlights the major differences between ANSI and UTF-8 −




Maximum number of characters



Character set

It is limited to English and Western European languages

It includes characters from many different languages and scripts

Size of character encoding



Compatibility with ASCII

Fully compatible

Fully compatible


Limited support for non- English languages


Number of bytes per character

One byte (8 bits)

One to four bytes, depending on the character's Unicode code point

Backwards compatibility with ASCII



Use cases

Legacy systems, compatibility with older software applications

Modern software development, web development, internationalization and localization


In conclusion, ANSI is a limited character encoding scheme used largely for English and other Western European languages, whereas UTF-8 is a considerably more versatile encoding technique capable of representing a much wider range of characters from many different languages and scripts.

Updated on: 15-May-2023

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