Identifying Nonprinting Characters

The following question came to us from the support mailbox:

I have a QEDIT file that is displaying a "?" at the beginning of some lines. I understand that this indicates that the line contains nonprintable characters. How can I get QEDIT to display the data so that I can determine what the data is?

One way to display the data is by using QZMODIFY as follows:

  1. The Visual screen with an unknown character in the line will resemble the following:

        Start of file  1 QED21739.PAUL.ACCOUNT "Z"(U) Hint: Type ?f7 for Help
                    ^ unknown character
    //  ....+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5....+....6....+....
  2. Press F8 to exit Visual mode.

  3. Set modify to QZMODIFY.
/set mod qz
Qzmodify: use Control-Q in the Modify Command for Help.
  1. Now modify the line in question.

Qedit will display the line, but the cursor will not be underneath the line, it will be on the line.

Press the spacebar until the cursor is directly on top of the line with the mystery period, then press Control-W followed by a question mark (?).

1     sadlkfjslkdj.flkfjkl

Qedit will then display the data:

ASCII character code = #25 , %000031, $0019

In this case, the character was a decimal 25 = octal 31 = hex 19. Press the Return key to get out of modify mode.

1     sadlkfjslkdj.flkfjkl

If you need to change this character, then use Set Decimal On and single quotation marks to isolate the decimal 25. For example,

/set dec on
/c '25  "#"  1
1     sadlkfjslkdj#flkfjkl
1 line changed

Update: Another Method of Viewing Unprintables

Also: How to Edit Unprintables

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