Non-ASCII Characters display as Square Characters in JIRA

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Non ASCII (Latin) characters are not being displayed or are replaced with squares. This is known to appear in at least the below areas:

  1. Charting
  2. Workflow Image Screen

For example:


The chart is generated on the JIRA server side. To generate this image, the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that JIRA runs in uses operating system fonts. If those are not available, it will display these square characters.

There was a bug raised for this under JCHART-369 that was closed as won't fix as it relates to the JVM configuration.


The content on this page relates to platforms which are supported; however, the content is out of scope of our Atlassian Support Offerings. Consequently, Atlassian cannot guarantee support. Please be aware that this material is provided for your information only and you may use it at your own risk.

The JVM needs to have the missing fonts installed. For example, to fix this for Korean fonts in Debian/Ubuntu, the following will need to be done:

  1. Install the missing fonts with the following:

    sudo apt-get install ttf-unfonts
    sudo apt-get install ttf-baekmuk
  2. Copy those fonts into the $JAVA_HOME/lib/fonts/fallback directory. In this example, they would be installed by apt-get into /usr/share/fonts/truetype.
  3. Stop JIRA.
  4. As these images can be cached, the following directory will need to be removed:


    (info) It will be rebuilt upon restart or if a new image is rendered.

  5. Start JIRA.
  6. Clear the browser cache.
  7. Test by viewing the workflow or reloading the chart.

(info) For more information regarding this configuration option, including how to identify the fonts to install, please refer to Font Configuration Files documentation from Oracle.

Last modified on Feb 26, 2016

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