Stop Hotmail from Replacing Your Special Characters


April 27, 2012 Update:
Thanks to some brilliant work by @thiesBW, Hotmail has decided to rescind the changes that were causing this issue.

One of our members posted in our forum about how Hotmail was replacing their HTML Copyright, Registration and Trademark symbols with an image, despite trying multiple types of character encoding.

After doing a little research, it seems that additional users are experiencing the same issue, based on this thread on Microsoft’s Hotmail forum.

Hotmail Image Replacement

We have confirmed that this new phenomenon occurs in all browsers and that it is exclusive to Hotmail. Here are some of the characters that get converted: ® (®), ™ (™), ©(©), ♠ (♠), ♣ (♣), ♦ (♦) ♥ (♥).

After some brainstorming and additional research, Miki has found a fix that’s pretty short and sweet.

Start by adding the following to your embedded styles,

<style type=“text/css”>
ExternalClass .ecxhm { display:none}
.ExternalClass .ecxhm2 {
inline !important;
fontsize11px !important;
color:#666 !important;

Use this in place of your standard trademark symbol:

<span class=“hm”>&trade;</span>
sup class=“hm2” style=“display:none; font-size:0; color:#FFF”>TM</sup

Use this in place of your copyright symbol:

<span class=“hm”>&copy;</span>
span class=“hm2” style=“display:none; font-size:0; color:#FFF”>(C)</span

Use this in place of your registered trademark symbol:

<span class=“hm”>&reg;</span>
span class=“hm2” style=“display:none; font-size:0; color:#FFF”>(R)</span

By using these code tweaks, you can get Hotmail to display only the second span (“hm2”), which will cause your symbols to display correctly. The first span (“hm”) will actually be hidden within Hotmail, enabling your standard HTML entities to work as they should in the other clients. Finally the “display:none; font-size:0; color:#FFF“, within the second span, will keep your replacement “(c)” from showing up in Gmail.

Another alternative is to scale the images down in Hotmail by doing something like this:

hmfix img{
:10px !important;
height:10px !important;

<span class=“hmfix”>&copy;</span

Let us know if it works for you!


Author: Email on Acid

The Email on Acid blog is on a mission to share email best practices, industry news, and solutions to most annoying email client bugs. Plus, we like to have a little fun along the way. Learn how to join the party and contribute to our blog.

5 thoughts on “Stop Hotmail from Replacing Your Special Characters”

  1. According to the Hotmail forum thread linked to in the post, Hotmail have rolled back this “feature” so special characters should now display as intended. My own testing confirms this.

  2. Hotmail had fixed this about 1-2 months ago. Not sure what’s up with their new though but I doubt this is needed anymore.

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