Java App : Unable To Read Iso-8859-1 Encoded File Correctly

I have a file which is encoded as iso-8859-1, and contains characters such as ô .

I am reading this file with java code, something like:

File in = new File("myfile.csv");
InputStream fr = new FileInputStream(in);
byte[] buffer = new byte[4096];
while (true) {
    int byteCount =, 0, buffer.length);
    if (byteCount <= 0) {

    String s = new String(buffer, 0, byteCount,"ISO-8859-1");

However the ô character is always garbled, usually printing as a ? .

I have read around the subject (and learnt a little on the way) e.g.

but still can not get this working

Interestingly this works on my local pc (xp) but not on my linux box.

I have checked that my jdk supports the required charsets (they are standard, so this is no suprise) using :



I suspect that either your file isn't actually encoded as ISO-8859-1, or System.out doesn't know how to print the character.

I recommend that to check for the first, you examine the relevant byte in the file. To check for the second, examine the relevant character in the string, printing it out with

 System.out.println((int) s.getCharAt(index));

In both cases the result should be 244 decimal; 0xf4 hex.

See my article on Unicode debugging for general advice (the code presented is in C#, but it's easy to convert to Java, and the principles are the same).

In general, by the way, I'd wrap the stream with an InputStreamReader with the right encoding - it's easier than creating new strings "by hand". I realise this may just be demo code though.

EDIT: Here's a really easy way to prove whether or not the console will work:

 System.out.println("Here's the character: \u00f4");