Atari ST to UTF-8 Conversion Utility

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Tired to read Atari ST text files on a PC or Mac and specific characters do not show correctly?

This utility converts a text file from the Atari ST's and compatible machines' character set to a text file where special characters are UTF-8 encoded. Such text files can be read correctly on any recent computing device.


AST2utf8 is delivered with a precompiled executable for the Windows platform. Unpack the file to any convenient directory.

To use ATS2utf8 on other platforms, you have to compile it from the source code, which is delivered in the ZIP file too.


In directory bin you will find executable AST2utf8.exe. This must be used from a command interpreter/shell like cmd.exe or a suitable batch file.

You can find a ready made Windows command file AST2utf8.cmd in directory bin.

Usage by Drag and Drop

To convert files using drag and drop, create a shortcut to AST2utf8.cmd for example on the Windows desktop. There are various possibilities to create such a shortcut. Use the one you are most comfortable with:

You can then drag an Atari ST text file and drop it on the shortcut. A new file is created with "-utf-8" appended to the file name and the extension ".txt".

Remark on Hebrew and right to left writing

I had used Emacs version 25.1.1 to check the output on AST2utf8. I observed some "errors" in the conversion of the hebrew characters that are contained in the Atari ST/TOS character set. It turned out that the conversion is done correctly, but Emacs displays the hebrew characters by default from right to left as ist the standard way for hebrew writing.


The C-code to encode a code point using UTF-8 is due to Ondřej Hruška ondra(at), who published it under MIT license.

Last change: 2023-10-28
© 2002-2023 Dr. Thomas Redelberger

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