"Total characters allowed reduced to 70 due to the inclusion of non-standard characters"
When composing a message to be sent via SMS (text messaging), it's important to be aware of the character limitations and formatting. Standard texting is an older format that uses the "GSM" character set. This includes all of the basic alphanumeric characters found in the English language and a few symbols.
If your message contains characters outside of the base GSM character set, it will still be sent, but the limit on characters will be drastically reduced from 160 characters down to just 70 total characters!
Such "non-standard characters" include anything outside of the GSM character set such as non-English-language characters like the German "s-set" (ß) character, Japanese Kanji, or even the popular Emoji that many people use every day! (example: 😀 )
You'll note that Omnilert's character counter will warn you when non-standard characters are present in your text content. You may want to reconsider including an emoji or any special quotes, dashes, or non-English characters pasted into the message body. Word processing programs often substitute non-standard characters into content, so be aware of this when copy/pasting text from Microsoft Word or other similar programs.
Tip: For the best results, always type your message directly into the Omnilert message composer.
But why do special characters reduce whole text message length to just 70 characters?
The reason for this drastic limitation has to "character encoding"; how text data is stored and interpreted by computers. Different character sets have different types of encoding.
The normal text we type uses GSM characters, which have 7-bit data encoding. However, the other character sets use 8-bit encoding (UTF-8) or, more commonly, 16-bit encoding (UTF-16).
This might not sound like a big difference, but it means the text in these larger character sets use up more space in the message. For example, Emoji use UTF-16 encoding, so they are more than double the size of typical GSM encoded text, resulting in less room for your message.
Text messages cannot mix content-encoding types. So, the inclusion of just one 16-bit character will cause your entire message to use 16-bit characters, reducing that character limit all the way down to 70 characters.
Note: If/when a text message exceeds the maximum allowed length for SMS, Omnilert will truncate the message and include a short link to view the full content in a browser. (See "SMS: Handling long text messages" for more information.)
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