I am trying to edit a exam using a template I found on internet (article using mathexam package) but since I have to use special characters of Brazilian portuguese (like á, à, ç, ã, õ, ô, â, ê) my final .pdf was not showing how I intended. The characters do not appear on the output, after compiling, by simply typing them on the code like I do in most of my other .tex documents (using babel and inputec packages).

But when I created a new .tex and was editing it to add on the current question, it finally worked. I think it must have something to do with codification of the file, but I have no idea how to change that option on the files.

What was actually happening?

In my documents I always use \usepackage[latin1]{inputenc}. How can I know if some file has different codification, and how to change it properly?

***I work on TeXnicCenter under WIN7 system.

Below is the example:

\usepackage[left=1in, right=1in, top=1in, bottom=1in]{geometry}

\ExamName{Simplificação de Raízes}


Coment with á é ã ç, ....}
   \item Calc something1.  
     \item $\frac{\sqrt{x+1} - 2}{x-3}$\answer
     \item $\frac{\sin(4x)}{8x}$\answer[1in plus 1fill]
   \item Calc something2 
      \[\lim_{x\rightarrow 2} x^5  -2x^2 + 4x + -7 = 0\]\noanswer[2.5in]
   \item Find...   
  • 1
    most editors will (somehow) show you the file encoding but I do not know that one. However if the file is not latin1 it is probably UTF-8 so changing the inputenc option to [utf8] will probably fix it May 17, 2014 at 14:05

2 Answers 2


If your posted example is saved as iso-8859-1 (latin1) it runs without error and produces the expected result.

If it is saved as UTF-8 it produces

enter image description here

Spurious accented A are a sure sign that the multi-byte UTF-8 characters are being interpreted as latin-1.

There are tools to convert back to latin1, but Unicode is the future, so possibly a better option is to tell LaTeX that you are using utf-8


Then your document works again


You also have to load:


or whatever font you please, provided it exists in T1 encoding, so as to ensure correct hyphenation of words with accented letters.

  • @David Carlisle: I once happened to get missing accented characters just because I had forgotten to load fontenc and lmodern, thereby using the default Computer Modern. Did something change in this respect more or less recently?
    – Bernard
    May 17, 2014 at 15:19
  • @David Carlisle: !!! I don't understand what could have happened. Anyway, I'll modify my answer.
    – Bernard
    May 17, 2014 at 17:03

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