Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

What would you like to do?
write utf-16 encoded files in node.js (both utf16be and utf16le)
const fs = require('fs');
// our demo string is in 'default' utf8 with emoji character assuming you are using an editor that supports those.
// if not, you can test this gist by setting utf8string to the equivalent '->\ud83d\ude03\ud83e\uddd2\ud83c\udffc\u00fc\u010d\u0113<-'
// gist doesn't support all ZWJ sequences, so can't show this here but it works with those as well, e.g. '\ud83d\udc68\ud83c\udffc\u200d\ud83d\udcbb'
const utf8string = '->😃🧒🏼üčē<-';
// this is what you'd usually do to write to a utf-8 encoded file
fs.writeFileSync('test-utf8.txt', utf8string);
// sometimes you need to write utf-16/ucs-2 encoded files.
// Node has built in support for utf16le (Little Endian) in fs.write but if you just use fs.write(filename, utf8string, 'utf16le') the written file
// won't work since it is missing the Byte Order Mark (BOM) character (
// So you need to add that character (feff in hex) yourself before writing the String/Buffer to a file.
const utf16buffer = Buffer.from(`\ufeff${utf8string}`, 'utf16le');
fs.writeFileSync('test-utf16le.txt', utf16buffer);
// And if you need to write utf-16be (Big Endian) files, all you need to do for that is to swap the bytes in the utf16 buffer
// this will end up with fffe as first two bytes in the final file which will tell supporting decoders that the byte order is Big Endian
fs.writeFileSync('test-utf16be.txt', utf16buffer.swap16());
// you can see what the content of these files is by using the od command line tool (mac/linux):
// od -x test-utf16le.txt
Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment