When I use one of the default styles in biblatex, Unicode characters are correctly printed in the bibliography. When I use the biblatex-apa package, on the other hand, (adding the option style = apa when loading the biblatex package), many fields display these characters as jibberish sequences, but other fields display them correctly. Here's an example:

\usepackage{fontspec,xunicode,xltxtra} % XeLaTeX
\defaultfontfeatures{Mapping=tex-text} % support TeX conventions like ``--''
\setmainfont{Linux Libertine O}
\usepackage[style = apa, backend = biber    ]{biblatex}

Clearly Bj{\char"00F8}rn V{\char"00E5}ge likes the letters {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5} a lot \parencite{author1}.

My .bib-file:

    AUTHOR = "Bj{\char"00F8}rn V{\char"00E5}ge",
    TITLE = "A title with {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    JOURNALTITLE = "The {J}ournal of {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    YEAR = "2011",
    ADDENDUM = "An addendum with {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    ANNOTATOR = "The annotator is {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    COMMENTATOR = "The commentator is {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    EDITOR = "P{\char"00F8}lsa S{\char"00E6}b{\char"00F8}",
    ISSUE = "The issue of {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    ISSUETITLE = "The issuetitle is {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    ISSUESUBTITLE = "The issuesubtitle is {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    JOURNALSUBTITLE = "The journalsubtitle is {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    NOTE = "The note says {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    NUMBER = "5",
    PAGES = "100--200",
    SERIES = "The series of {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    SUBTITLE = "The subtitle is {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    TITLEADDON = "The titleaddon is {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}",
    TRANSLATOR = "The translator's name was {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5}"}

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  • Is it important to use {\char"00E6}{\char"00F8}{\char"00E5} instead of æøå in the bib file? – Håkon Malmedal Aug 1 '12 at 18:06
  • @HåkonMalmedal No, but this is just an example. Some of my titles use phonetic symbols, diacritics, and such. It's better to define such symbols with Unicode codes rather than depend on having the necessary font installed on your system to be able to even see what is intended. That said, I tried just typing 'æøå' in the bib file when testing biblatex earlier, and the pdf produced black boxes. – Sverre Aug 1 '12 at 18:09
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    I tried with æøå in the bib file and had no problem. – Håkon Malmedal Aug 1 '12 at 18:12
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    Make sure that you are saving the bib file as UTF8. I tried saving the bib file as latin1 and was able to duplicate your result. – Håkon Malmedal Aug 1 '12 at 18:28
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    @HåkonMalmedal You're right. But this doesn't resolve the issue of biblatex-apa not being able to parse Unicode codes in some fields. I prefer defining my characters in terms of their Unicode codes, cuz then anyone can open my .tex and .bib files on any computer with any fonts, and know exactly what characters I intend to be displayed. That's a big deal in my field. Plus I use a lot of characters you can't just type on the keyboard. – Sverre Aug 1 '12 at 18:37

Please try biber 1.2 from the development folder on SourceForge. It will now convert \char constructions to Unicode internally which is necessary anyway for sorting etc.


The problem seems to lie with the command \MakeSentenceCase. You can try this as a workaround:


There’s a bug report here: https://github.com/plk/biblatex/issues/24


Biber version 1.2 is released. It fixes this problem.

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    Yes, this use of {\char ...} with \Make*case doesn't seem to work. It's nothing to do with the APA style per-se, it's just that that style uses MakeSentenceCase. Could you please file a bug report on github for biblatex. – PLK Aug 1 '12 at 22:44

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