Convert Hi-Ansi chars to Ascii equivalent (é -> e)

Is there a routine available in Delphi 2007 to convert the characters in the high range of the ANSI table (>127) to their equivalent ones in pure ASCII (<=127) according to a locale (codepage)?

I know some chars cannot translate well but most can, esp. in the 192-255 range:

  • ÀA
  • àa
  • ËE
  • ëe
  • ÇC
  • çc
  • (en dash)- (hyphen - that can be trickier)
  • (em dash)- (hyphen)


WideCharToMultiByte does best-fit mapping for any characters that aren't supported by the specified character set, including stripping diacritics. You can do exactly what you want by using that and passing 20127 (US-ASCII) as the codepage.

function BestFit(const AInput: AnsiString): AnsiString;
  CodePage = 20127; //20127 = us-ascii
  WS: WideString;
  WS := WideString(AInput);
  SetLength(Result, WideCharToMultiByte(CodePage, 0, PWideChar(WS),
    Length(WS), nil, 0, nil, nil));
  WideCharToMultiByte(CodePage, 0, PWideChar(WS), Length(WS),
    PAnsiChar(Result), Length(Result), nil, nil);

procedure TForm1.Button1Click(Sender: TObject);

Calling that with your examples produces results you're looking for, including the emdash-to-minus case, which I don't think is handled by Jeroen's suggestion to convert to Normalization form D. If you did want to take that approach, Michael Kaplan has a blog post the explicitly discusses stripping diacritics (rather than normalization in general), but it uses C# and an API that was introduces in Vista. You can get something similar using the FoldString api (any WinNT release).

Of course if you're only doing this for one character set, and you want to avoid the overhead from converting to and from a WideString, Padu is correct that a simple for loop and a lookup table would be just as effective.

Just to extend Craig's answer for Delphi 2009:

If you use Delphi 2009 and newer, you can use a more readable code with the same result:

function OStripAccents(const aStr: String): String;
  USASCIIString = type AnsiString(20127);//20127 = us ascii
  Result := String(USASCIIString(aStr));

Unfortunately, this code does work only on MS Windows. On Mac, the accents are not replaced by best-fitted characters but by question marks.

Obviously, Delphi internally uses WideCharToMultiByte on Windows whereas on Mac iconv is used (see LocaleCharsFromUnicode in System.pas). The question is if this different behaviour on different OS should be considered as bug and reported to CodeCentral.

I believe your best bet is creating a lookup table.

What you are looking for is normalization.

Michael Kaplan wrote a nice blog article about normalization.

It does not immediately solve your problem, but points you in the right direction.


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