How many characters can I send in an SMS?

Updated 5 months ago

This link helps you calculate how many characters you can send in an SMS: http://smscharactercount.com

A message can be classified as 2 types:

  • Standard message - contains characters from the GSM Basic Character Set (see below)
  • Unicode message - If a message contains any characters that aren’t in the GSM 03.38 basic character set, the message type will be treated as unicode. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM_03.38).

Long Messages

A standard SMS message has a maximum of 160 characters. Longer messages are definitely possible, however please be aware that exceeding 160 characters will constitute a ‘second’ message. The end user will see this as 1 long message on their handset.

When a message is longer than 160 characters, this is referred to as a multi-part message as it contains multiple messages (or multiple-parts). The total SMS limit then becomes 153 characters per ‘part’ as the 7 characters are used up by invisible headers and footers which denote which part of the message is being sent (i.e. Part 1 of 2). For example: If a message is longer than 6 message parts, it will be truncated (see below).

Standard English Characters:

1 – 160 characters = 1 Message
161 – 306 characters = 2 Messages
307 – 459 characters = 3 Messages
460 – 612 characters = 4 Messages
613 – 765 characters = 5 Messages
766 – 918 characters = 6 Messages
919 – 1071 characters = 7 Messages
1072 – 1224 characters = 8 Messages

Non-GSM (Unicode) characters:

1 – 70 characters = 1 Message
71 – 134 characters = 2 Messages
135 – 201 characters = 3 Messages
202 – 268 characters = 4 Messages
269 – 335 characters = 5 Messages
336 – 402 characters = 6 Messages
403 – 469 characters = 7 Messages
470 – 536 characters = 8 Messages

GSM Basic Character Set

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM_03.38

Note:Line breaks/carriage returns count as 2 characters.

Can I send Emojis?

Yes you can, provided that the recipient network supports it. If the recipient network doesn't support them, they will be stripped out. Emojis are counted as 2 unicode characters each.

Can I force only GSM characters?

Yes you can. Open the Unicode SMS Settings and select 'Force non-unicode'

Can I force a maximum number of characters?

Yes you can change the limit here: https://dashboard.clicksend.com/#/sms/settings/character-limit


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