I see now that "by default, the internal format is either ISO-8859-1 (latin-1), or utf8, depending on the history of the string." I hadn't seen that before. I was under the impression that if the utf8 flag is not set, the string consists of octets that should be decoded. It now appears that this impression was incorrect. That brings me back to the question: Exactly what does the Win32:OLE documentation mean when it talks about the CP option for "translations between Perl strings and Unicode strings?" Does the CP_UTF8 option actually mean "character strings in Perl's internal format?" Thanks.