I have a Nokia Lumia 520 with WP8.1. I have never sent a TEXT message with it.

1) I have tried to send an SMS but I did not see a counter that would have told me how many characters I had typed and what the maximum allowed number was (I guess it should have been 160). How can I activate the counter?

2) I intend to write messages in a foreign language that has accented characters which will inevitably appear if I write the text using various suggestions of words that appear in the bar above the phone keyboard. I can use the English keyboard for writing directly without accents but a text with accents (no word marked with a red line) will tell me that there are no spelling errors. I would like that the phone automatically remove the accents and leave just the basic Latin letters when the message is sent. How can I do this?

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    Please post each question separately. Leave this for #1, edit #2 out and post it as a separate question. Otherwise answers will get confusing. – Indrek Nov 17 '17 at 18:05
  • The counter and the accented characters issues are likely interrelated because, excepting letters with quite common accents, the rest will shorten the maximum allowed length of the SMS from 160 to as low as 70. Anyway, if nobody is able to help me in the next few weeks I will split the topic I opened in two separate questions. – Robert Werner Nov 17 '17 at 22:12
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    Regarding #1, see this answer about SMS character encodings. Specifically, the last paragraph explains that the character count doesn't appear until you've used 130 out of 160 characters. – Indrek Nov 18 '17 at 10:16

For the first question: The character counter appears when you get close to the limit. For WP8.1 and 7-bit ASCII (which is the most compact and has no accents), I believe the counter shows up when you hit 130 (out of 160) characters (it might be 140/160 instead; I haven't used WP8.x in years). The app will also show the number of messages it will use, if you go over 160 (or whatever the limit is for your character set).

For the second question, you may be able to use the Settings screen for the Messaging app itself, or possibly for SMS/Cellular in general (again, haven't used 8.x in a while) to tell the phone to only use certain character sets. I haven't tried doing that, though; it sends in ASCII by default but switches to Unicode if I send anything like an accented character, emoji, etc.

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