I'm using seqsplit to split long words within cells of a longtable. I'm using utf8x and ucs packages too. I'm generating PDFs out of those .tex files.

When words have UTF-8 characters, the first one in the sequence raises an error.

\seqsplit{Música} using utf8x appears as `M[U+FFFD]sica`

This is the error it raises:

! Package utf8x Error: MalformedUTF-8sequence.

See the utf8x package documentation for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.

l.398 .. com} & \seqsplit{Música}


Package ucs Warning: Unknown character 65533 = 0xFFFD appeared again. on input 
line 398.

If I remove seqsplit, the word appears correctly, but I need to use this package, maybe someone knows an alternative or macro I can use.

The funniest part is that if the word contains two or more UTF-8 characters, what I get is:

\seqsplit{Múúsica} `M[U+FFFD]úsica`

Only fails in the first character, so I'm sure UTF-8 encoding is correctly done.

1 Answer 1


Unicode points > 7 bit are encoded with several bytes in UTF-8. Package seqsplit does not know this, as it is written for long DNA/RNA/protein/… sequences. It is the wrong package for natural text. Languages have rules, where breakpoints are allowed in words (usually not after each letter) and they request the insertion of a hyphenation char.

Thus for narrow columns I recommend package ragged2e with command \Raggedright that is similar to \raggedright, but allows hyphenation. It therefore fills the available space better.

Nevertheless, if a sequence for \seqsplit contains UTF-8 chars and a Unicode TeX engine (XeTeX, LuaTeX) is not used, then the UTF-8 sequences can be grouped and protected for \seqsplit:



  • Is soul a suitable package? Jun 17, 2013 at 17:37
  • @MarcoDaniel: For what purpose (text in narrow columns or DNA sequences)? Jun 17, 2013 at 18:05
  • For the issue of the op. Maybe soul can handle such special tokens. Jun 17, 2013 at 18:40
  • Thanks for the detailed explanation Heiko! really useful.
    – maraujop
    Jun 18, 2013 at 7:47

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