Accented Categories

Trouble: Categories with accented characters

One of my categories is named “Le-carré,” but the link ends up being generated like this:


And not working. Is there an easy fix for this that I’m overlooking?


Mac OS X user? If so, you are likely a victim of HFS Plus file system’s insistence to store the “é” (U+00E9) character in Normal Form Decomposed (NFD) mode, i.e. as “e” + “ ́” (U+0065 U+0301).

le-carr%C3%A9 is actually correct, %C3%A9 being the UTF-8 version of U+00E9 as expected by the web server. Problem is, OS X turns [U+00E9] into [U+0065 U+0301], and thus le-carr%C3%A9 no longer works. Instead, only le-carre%CC%81 ending with e%CC%81 would match that [U+0065 U+0301] at the end.

This is unique to OS X. The rest of the world does not do this, and most certainly not your web server which is most likely running Linux. This is not a Hugo-specific problem either. Other people have been bitten by this when they have accented characters in their HTML files.

Nor is this problem specific to Latin scripts. Japanese Mac users often run into the same issue, e.g. with decomposing into and .1

Rsync 3.x to the rescue! From an answer posted on Server Fault:

You can use rsync’s --iconv option to convert between UTF-8 NFC & NFD, at least if you’re on a Mac. There is a special utf-8-mac character set that stands for UTF-8 NFD. So to copy files from your Mac to your web server, you’d need to run something like:

rsync -a --iconv=utf-8-mac,utf-8 localdir/ mywebserver:remotedir/

This will convert all the local filenames from UTF-8 NFD to UTF-8 NFC on the remote server. The files’ contents won’t be affected.

Please make sure you have the latest version rsync 3.x installed. The rsync that ships with OS X (even the latest 10.10 Yosemite) is the horribly old at version 2.6.9 protocol version 29. The --iconv flag is new in rsync 3.x.


  1. As explained in the Japanese Perl Users article Encode::UTF8Mac makes you happy while handling file names on MacOSX. [return]