More and more recently I see empty rectangles in text areas on the web. I think it is Ubuntu 14.04's character encoding/Unicode libraries not being up to date but I don't know. I also think it is mostly emoji but cannot actually see the characters to know for sure.

How can I fix this?

The webpages do have a <meta charset="UTF-8"> in them.

enter image description here

UPDATE: Here is the webpage, https://docs.amazee.io/changelog.html.


I see those 3 characters in Android devices. The "running man", up symbol, and bicep muscle. Follow the link @xhienne refers to by listing chars, then click on "fonts that support". Seems certain you need an emoji font. Look at the display on one of your mystery characters: http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/1f199/fontsupport.htm

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  • In ubuntu, open Character Map (a gnome function, command line gucharmap) and hit search, put in U+1F3C3. That takes me to running man. If you see nothing, that explains trouble. I am sure font package you need to install is "fonts-symbola". When I right click in CM, it says symbol a. – pauljohn32 Dec 11 '16 at 3:36

This is just a font problem. None of the fonts installed on your system include the three Unicode characters after "with a" (*). As a fallback, rectangles are drawn instead.

The solution is to install the right font. I can't recommand one since no one font can cover the whole Unicode set (which is huuuuge).

(*) On this webpage, they are U+1F3C3, U+1F199 and [U+1F4AA][4]

[update following @wjandrea's comment] Ubuntu provides support for those characters with package ttf-ancient-fonts. To install it type this command:

apt-get install ttf-ancient-fonts
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