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Troubleshooting Shopify: fixing odd question marks in the body_html product description

Jason S
Jason S
  • Updated

Shopify descriptions will encode a space as html, but when we import it the code comes in as a question mark. This will affect your account if you want to retain and use the html code of your product descriptions on eBay or other marketplaces.

"The question marks are from the Rich Text Editor tool sometimes encoding the spaces in your  product descriptions on Shopify. In Shopify, go to edit the description and click the <> button in the top right and use that to correct the code content."

This forum discussion has a great response to this issue. See :

"Rich Text Editors ( RTE ) are text entry fields with a toolbar for text formatting ( fonts, sizes, colors, lists, etc ) at the top. They can and will jack up your code every chance they get. With every edit, with every line break, with every formatting change; they will try to update the output HTML accordingly and rarely get it perfect. And the more you edit a post, the worse it can get. Ever used a voice activated GPS or SIRI? And you talk to it and it only gets 60% of the meaning? Well thats an RTE with your formatting when you make a bunch of edits. They live by rules and you write posts on your own terms, so conflicts happen. They will add extra tags, styles and nonsense you dont want. With Shopify even in the HTML editor, several valid HTML5 tags are outright ignored and unsupported.

Few general guidelines:

  1. If you have basic HTML skills, always click the <> button in the top right and use that to format content.
  2. If you use the RTE, and know 10% HTML, click the <> icon anyway and see if anything looks strange.
  3. If you know 0% HTML, dont write your post in Word or whatever and copy and paste in. When you paste you will get more than your text, you will also get a bunch of formatting crap that you probably dont want. Type in from scratch, or copy and paste from a 'plain text' format. I cant speak for Windows users but if you put your content in TextEdit on a Mac and hit CMD+SHIFT+T you can remove all formatting bits. With plain text you can copy/paste then careuflly use the RTE tools for styles.
  4. Every theme is unique. Every post is unique. Nothing is ever without issue. Don't get angry when something goes wrong, try to understand where and why it went wrong. Then once you have a workflow stick to it."


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