Converts a string to a binary representation.


A binary object that represents the string.

Function syntax

CharsetDecode(string, encoding)

See also

BinaryDecode, BinaryEncode, CharsetEncode; Determining the page encoding of server output in the Developing ColdFusion Applications


ColdFusion MX 7: Added this function.





A string containing data to encode in binary format.


A string that specifies encoding of the input data. Must be a character encoding name recognized by the Java runtime. The following list includes commonly used values:

  • utf-8

  • iso-8859-1

  • windows-1252

  • us-ascii

  • shift_jis

  • iso-2022-jp

  • euc-jp

  • euc-kr

  • big5

  • euc-cn

  • utf-16

For a complete list of character encoding names supported by Sun Java runtimes, see and


This function converts a string directly to a binary object. In releases of ColdFusion through ColdFusion MX 6.1, you had to use the ToBase64 function to convert the string to Base64 and then use the ToBinary function to convert strings to binary data.


The following example uses the CharsetDecode function to convert a string from a form to a binary object, and uses the CharsetEncode function to convert it back to the original value. You can change the character encoding that ColdFusion uses for the conversion. If you select the Asian language encodings, characters that are not in the specified character set are successfully converted.

<h3>Character Encoding Conversion Example</h3> 
<!--- Do the following if the form has been submitted. ---> 
<cfif IsDefined("Form.myString")> 
    <!--- Do the conversions. ---> 
        chardecode=CharsetDecode(Form.myString, Form.charEncoding); 
        charencode=CharsetEncode(chardecode, Form.charEncoding); 
    <!--- Display the input values and results. ---> 
        <h3>Parameter Settings</h3> 
        <p><b>The string:</b><br> 
        <p><b>The character encoding:</b> #Form.charEncoding#</p> 
        <h3>Results of the operations:</h3> 
        <p><b>Dump of the string converted to a binary object by CharsetDecode:  
            <cfdump var="#chardecode#"></p> 
        <p><b>The binary object converted back to a string by CharsetEncode:  
<!--- The input form. ---> 
<form action="#CGI.SCRIPT_NAME#" method="post"> 
    <b>Select the character encoding</b><br> 
    <!--- This is a subset, additional encodings are available. ---> 
    <select size="1" name="charEncoding" > 
        <option selected>UTF-8</option> 
    <b>Enter a string</b><br> 
    <textarea name = "myString" cols = "40" rows = "5" WRAP = "VIRTUAL"> 
    The following four characters are not in all character encodings: ½àç÷ 
    <input type = "Submit" value = "convert my data">