Submitting UTF-8 Special Characters
Special Characters in Submissions
Grants.gov is configured to receive and transfer all UTF-8 characters, which includes those characters commonly referred to as "special characters." Examples of special characters include the tilde (~), letters with accent marks (á), and Greek letters (μ). Grants.gov will receive and transfer all UTF-8 characters as they are entered into Grants.gov via:
(1) PDF and S2S submissions
(2) User interface (UI) entry
(3) System-to-system (S2S) connection
Why does this matter for Applicants?
Applicants are able to enter all special characters from the UTF-8 character set when submitting applications and information to Grants.gov. However, if the grantor's system is not yet compatible with these special characters, the grantor system may produce garbled or missing text in the application. As a result, the application may be rejected.
Applicants should also identify whether the system they use to apply to Grants.gov is compatible with special characters in the UTF-8 character set. If the applicant system is not compatible, but the applicant still enters special characters, then Grants.gov may receive garbled or missing data which will be transferred to the grantor.
• Read all the instructions provided by the grantor, which may include instructions not to use certain special characters.
• Check your grant application systems for compatibility with special characters in the UTF-8 character set, if applicable.
Why does this matter for Grantors?
Grants.gov will transfer the special characters in an application exactly as received. However, if the grantor's systems, including S2S, are not compatible with the entire UTF-8 character set, then the grantor systems will not be able to read the special characters. The result may be garbled or missing data in applications.
• Upgrade your system to accept special characters in the UTF-8 character set.
• Include instructions to applicants which special characters cannot be submitted in applications.
Special Character Impact Summary Table
Applicant UTF-8 Compatibility
Grantor UTF-8 Compatibility
PDF Applicant using UTF-8 Compatible Package
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Applicant S2S with applicant system not UTF-8 Compatible
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Applicant S2S with applicant system UTF-8 Compatible
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What are the special character restrictions on file names for attachments included in application packages?
Review the application instructions provided by the award-making agency for their attachment restrictions. You should also review the instructions on the form you are completing.
If there are no restrictions for file names identified by the agency or in the form, then the file name restrictions are as follows:
- Please limit file names to 50 or fewer characters
- Do not attach any documents with the same name. All attachments should have a unique name.
- Please use only the following UTF-8 characters when naming your attachments: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore, hyphen, space, period, parenthesis, curly braces, square brackets, ampersand, tilde, exclamation point, comma, semi colon, apostrophe, at sign, number sign, dollar sign, percent sign, plus sign, and equal sign. Attachments that do not follow this rule may cause the entire application to be rejected or cause issues during processing.
We are seeing issues (i.e. "java.lang.Exception: 16 errors") when submissions are not following the filename restrictions.
Below are two examples where the system returned "error 16" when an applicant used an incorrect filename:
[2009-02-11 11:17:46,610][FATAL][GrantS2SFacade.submitApplication()1377]-Couldn't completely receive Submission due to unknown Exception. Throwing Exception to WS Implementation
org.dom4j.InvalidXPathException: Invalid XPath expression: //att:FileLocation[@att:href='D'ASSORO+BCRT+2002_FTLUII5NT77KT4IQDKQGDQBAD6.pdf'] Expected: ]