How Do I Send a British Pound Symbol Through SMTP?

Written by lawrence nyveen
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SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and is the method by which a server accepts e-mail you send and relays it to other SMTP servers across the Internet until your message reaches its destination.

Whether you send an e-mail as plain text or as HTML, the SMTP server merely routes it.

The problem with special characters such as the £ (British pound symbol) is that different varieties of e-mail software may encode and interpret the symbol differently. This is a problem particularly with older versions of Microsoft software, which use ASCII character encoding for English instead of the UTF-8 global standard.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open Outlook or Outlook Express if you use either.

    If you send e-mail from Outlook or Outlook Express to a recipient who also uses these e-mail clients, you shouldn't have any problem--but you can't be sure which e-mail software your recipient uses. It's advisable to change settings in your copy of Outlook or Outlook Express so that all your text e-mail goes out with UTF-8 coding.

  2. 2

    Click to open the "Tools" menu and click "Options." Click the "Mail Format" tab.

  3. 3

    Click on "International Options" in the "Mail Format" section marked "Message format."

  4. 4

    Select "UTF-8" in the "Preferred encoding for outgoing messages" drop-down list.

  1. 1

    Compose your HTML message or open your draft.

    Regardless which e-mail client you use, you need to create precisely coded HTML e-mail if you use that format. That means using the correct HTML code rather than relying on what you see on your monitor.

  2. 2

    Display the HTML e-mail you just opened as HTML code. Check the instructions or help text of the particular e-mail client you are using.

  3. 3

    Replace all instances of the British pound sign with "£" which is the HTML code for that symbol. If you are not in HTML code, odds are your e-mail client will instead display the ampersand, hash, 163 and semicolon as text rather than render it as code to display the pound symbol.

Tips and warnings

  • You can always use the accepted abbreviation "GBP" for the currency instead of the British pound symbol.
  • Sometimes, the symbol will be rendered as "£." This is an incorrect rendition of the UTF-8 code for the symbol. Make sure both the sending and receiving e-mail clients are set to handle UTF-8.

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