When someone receives an SMS, they see it in the form of character. In its most basic form, a single SMS is compries of 160 characters. However when you send an SMS, the size of your message is determined by its maximum payload size of 1120 bits. Keeping this into account, not all SMS characters have the same size attached to them. Special elements such as line breaks, symbols, unicode, and different languages vary in size. This can get really technical, that’s why we made the free SMS Character Counter for you. If you’re sending longer text messages, use our live view on the right side to see where your messages will get cut off.

The SMS Counter Explained

Although we recommend staying within the 160 character range, it’s possible to send up to 612 characters. That’s why the Total Count section will display a number between 0-612. However, once you create an SMS over 160 characters, it will count as an additional SMS, which means you will be charged for the excess. For this reason, make sure you pay attention to the Total SMS section, which will automatically calculate how many messages your characters equate to. IF you need a reminder of how many characters you have left, look at Next Part. It’s there to show you how many characters you have left until your SMS becomes an additional message.

GSM Encoding

Latin-based languages such as Chinese, Spanish, and Greek use GSM character encoding. Each GSM character accounts for 7 bits, thus allowing a maximum of 160 characters per SMS. Languages not supported by Latin-based languages use a different encoding process called Unicode. This is commonly known as Unicode Transformation Format (UTF-16).

Unicode Encoding

Each UTF-16 character accounts for 16 bits per character, thus allowing a maxumum of 70 characters per text. Depending on how many UTF-16 characters are used, this will make a noticeable affect on the final character count.

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