What is ASCII?

What is ASCII? ASCII is the most common format for text files in computers and on the Internet.

In an ASCII file, each alphabetic, numeric, or special character is represented with a 7-bit binary number (a string of seven 0s or 1s). 128 possible characters are defined. UNIX and DOS-based operating systems (except for Windows NT) use ASCII for text files.

Newer versions of Windows use a newer code, Unicode. IBM’s System 390 servers use a proprietary 8-bit code called EBCDIC. Conversion programs allow different operating systems to change a file from one code to another.

ASCII was developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). A chart of ASCII characters and their decimal or hexadecimal equivalent can be found at asciitable.com (courtesy of asciitable.com)

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