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PHP Manual :: html_entity_decode

hex2bin || htmlentities || String Functions || PHP Manual

(PHP 4 >= 4.3.0, PHP 5, PHP 7)

html_entity_decodeConvert all HTML entities to their applicable characters


string html_entity_decode ( string $string [, int $flags = ENT_COMPAT | ENT_HTML401 [, string $encoding = ini_get("default_charset") ]] )

html_entity_decode() is the opposite of htmlentities() in that it converts all HTML entities in the string to their applicable characters.

More precisely, this function decodes all the entities (including all numeric entities) that a) are necessarily valid for the chosen document type — i.e., for XML, this function does not decode named entities that might be defined in some DTD — and b) whose character or characters are in the coded character set associated with the chosen encoding and are permitted in the chosen document type. All other entities are left as is.



The input string.


A bitmask of one or more of the following flags, which specify how to handle quotes and which document type to use. The default is ENT_COMPAT | ENT_HTML401.

Available flags constants
Constant Name Description
ENT_COMPAT Will convert double-quotes and leave single-quotes alone.
ENT_QUOTES Will convert both double and single quotes.
ENT_NOQUOTES Will leave both double and single quotes unconverted.
ENT_HTML401 Handle code as HTML 4.01.
ENT_XML1 Handle code as XML 1.
ENT_XHTML Handle code as XHTML.
ENT_HTML5 Handle code as HTML 5.


An optional argument defining the encoding used when converting characters.

If omitted, the default value of the encoding varies depending on the PHP version in use. In PHP 5.6 and later, the default_charset configuration option is used as the default value. PHP 5.4 and 5.5 will use UTF-8 as the default. Earlier versions of PHP use ISO-8859-1.

Although this argument is technically optional, you are highly encouraged to specify the correct value for your code if you are using PHP 5.5 or earlier, or if your default_charset configuration option may be set incorrectly for the given input.

The following character sets are supported:

Supported charsets
Charset Aliases Description
ISO-8859-1 ISO8859-1 Western European, Latin-1.
ISO-8859-5 ISO8859-5 Little used cyrillic charset (Latin/Cyrillic).
ISO-8859-15 ISO8859-15 Western European, Latin-9. Adds the Euro sign, French and Finnish letters missing in Latin-1 (ISO-8859-1).
UTF-8   ASCII compatible multi-byte 8-bit Unicode.
cp866 ibm866, 866 DOS-specific Cyrillic charset.
cp1251 Windows-1251, win-1251, 1251 Windows-specific Cyrillic charset.
cp1252 Windows-1252, 1252 Windows specific charset for Western European.
KOI8-R koi8-ru, koi8r Russian.
BIG5 950 Traditional Chinese, mainly used in Taiwan.
GB2312 936 Simplified Chinese, national standard character set.
BIG5-HKSCS   Big5 with Hong Kong extensions, Traditional Chinese.
Shift_JIS SJIS, SJIS-win, cp932, 932 Japanese
EUC-JP EUCJP, eucJP-win Japanese
MacRoman   Charset that was used by Mac OS.
''   An empty string activates detection from script encoding (Zend multibyte), default_charset and current locale (see nl_langinfo() and setlocale()), in this order. Not recommended.

Note: Any other character sets are not recognized. The default encoding will be used instead and a warning will be emitted.

Return Values

Returns the decoded string.


Version Description
5.6.0 The default value for the encoding parameter was changed to be the value of the default_charset configuration option.
5.4.0 Default encoding changed from ISO-8859-1 to UTF-8.
5.4.0 The constants ENT_HTML401, ENT_XML1, ENT_XHTML and ENT_HTML5 were added.


Example #1 Decoding HTML entities

"I'll \"walk\" the <b>dog</b> now";

$a htmlentities($orig);

$b html_entity_decode($a);

$a// I'll &quot;walk&quot; the &lt;b&gt;dog&lt;/b&gt; now

echo $b// I'll "walk" the <b>dog</b> now



You might wonder why trim(html_entity_decode('&nbsp;')); doesn't reduce the string to an empty string, that's because the '&nbsp;' entity is not ASCII code 32 (which is stripped by trim()) but ASCII code 160 (0xa0) in the default ISO 8859-1 encoding.

See Also

hex2bin || htmlentities || String Functions || PHP Manual
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