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ASCII Character Set

The information on this page is in four parts including general ASCII information, conversions of the non-printable control characters, conversions of the printable ASCII characters, and a keyboard input for printable ASCII character conversion.

General Information

Pronounced as-key, ASCII is a sequential formula for representing English characters as numbers, with each letter assigned a number from 0 to 127; however, not all of those are really printable characters. An acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange, this is the most common code for text on computers. In common usage, ASCII means a text file that doesn't include any formatting. In most programs, the "Save As Text" option will create an ASCII file in contrast to a specially formatted file or binary file. An ASCII file is a character by character save process. For example, the ASCII code for an upper case A is decimal 65; the lower case a adds decimal 32 to that and is 97. Most computers use ASCII codes to represent, display or print text, which makes it possible to transfer data from one computer to another. The meaning of the acronym name in itself is misleading as there really is no standard, just a strong suggestion. Many companies have taken generous, liberal and self-enhancing liberties in making modifications to suit themselves, IBM and Microsoft being at the top of the list.

Text files stored in ASCII format are sometimes called text files or ASCII files; they often have the file extensions .TXT, .txt, .ASC or .asc. Text editors and word processors are usually capable of storing data in ASCII format, although ASCII format is not always the default storage format. Most data files, particularly if they contain numeric data, are not stored in ASCII format unless there is a need for easy and quick interchange with several types of systems that access that data. Executable programs are not normally stored in standard ASCII format, though there are certain exceptions such as executable programs running under interpreters.

The standard ASCII character set uses only 7 bits of the 8 bit byte for each character. There are several larger character sets that use all 8 bits of the byte, which gives them an 128 additional characters in the set. The extra characters are used to represent characters not used in the English language, graphics characters or symbols, and mathematical representations or symbols. Several companies and organizations have proposed extensions for these 128 characters; none have made any effort to work together for standards. The DOS operating system uses a superset of ASCII called the ASCII extended set or PC ASCII. A more universal standard is the ISO Latin 1 set of characters used by many current operating systems and most current generation browsers. Typical non-conformer IBM (and several other mainframe makers), use another code set called EBCDIC.

ASCII Control Character Information

ASCII control characters are actually commands for the terminal, monitor, computer, I/O devices, printer or other peripherals to do something. The first 32 values are non-printing control characters, such as Carriage Return (decimal value 13) and Line Feed (decimal value 10). You generate these characters on the keyboard by holding down the Control key while you strike another key. For example, BEL (Bell) is value decimal 7, Control and the letter G at the same time, often shown in documents as ^G. Notice that 7 is 64 less than the value of G (71); the Control key subtracts 64 from the value of the keys that it modifies. It does this by setting bit 6 (the 7th bit in a 0-7 indicated 8 bit byte) to a space. These characters are also capable of being sent to the device by a software sequence, most often by a program. They are usually sent as a string of characters following an attention character, usually ESCape, but not always. This string of characters, or the equivalent numeric representation of each character, is usually done in hexadecimal or decimal, sometimes in octal on older minicomputers, but virtually never (though possible) in binary. Because of that, these software issued control characters or sequences are often termed ESCape sequences.

ASCII Control Characters

The following table lists ASCII Control codes in octal, decimal, hexadecimal and their corresponding Control-key combinations.

CharOctDecHexControl-KeyControl Action
NUL000^@NULl character
SOH111^AStart Of Heading
STX222^BStart of TeXt
ETX333^CEnd of TeXt
EOT444^DEnd Of Transmission
BEL777^GBELl, rings terminal bell
BS1088^HBackSpace (non-destructive)
HT1199^IHorizontal Tab (move to next tab position)
LF1210a^JLine Feed
VT1311b^KVertical Tab
FF1412c^LForm Feed
CR1513d^MCarriage Return
SO1614e^NShift Out
SI1715f^OShift In
DLE201610^PData Link Escape
DC1211711^QDevice Control 1, normally XON
DC2221812^RDevice Control 2
DC3231913^SDevice Control 3, normally XOFF
DC4242014^TDevice Control 4
NAK252115^UNegative AcKnowledge
SYN262216^VSYNchronous idle
ETB272317^WEnd Transmission Block
CAN302418^XCANcel line
EM312519^YEnd of Medium
FS34281c^\File Separator
GS35291d^]Group Separator
RS36301e^^Record Separator
US37311f^_Unit Separator

Printing Characters

!413321Exclamation mark
"423422Quotation mark (" in HTML)
#433523Cross hatch (number sign)
$443624Dollar sign
%453725Percent sign
`473927Closing single quote (apostrophe)
(504028Opening parentheses
)514129Closing parentheses
*52422aAsterisk (star, multiply)
-55452dHyphen, dash, minus
/57472fSlash (forward or divide)
<74603cLess than sign (&lt; in HTML)
=75613dEquals sign
>76623eGreater than sign (&gt; in HTML)
?77633fQuestion mark
A1016541Upper case A
B1026642Upper case B
C1036743Upper case C
D1046844Upper case D
E1056945Upper case E
F1067046Upper case F
G1077147Upper case G
H1107248Upper case H
I1117349Upper case I
J112744aUpper case J
K113754bUpper case K
L114764cUpper case L
M115774dUpper case M
N116784eUpper case N
O117794fUpper case O
P1208050Upper case P
Q1218151Upper case Q
R1228252Upper case R
S1238353Upper case S
T1248454Upper case T
U1258555Upper case U
V1268656Upper case V
W1278757Upper case W
X1308858Upper case X
Y1318959Upper case Y
Z132905aUpper case Z
[133915bOpening square bracket
\134925cBackslash (Reverse slant)
]135935dClosing square bracket
^136945eCaret (Circumflex)
`1409660Opening single quote
a1419761Lower case a
b1429862Lower case b
c1439963Lower case c
d14410064Lower case d
e14510165Lower case e
f14610266Lower case f
g14710367Lower case g
h15010468Lower case h
i15110569Lower case i
j1521066aLower case j
k1531076bLower case k
l1541086cLower case l
m1551096dLower case m
n1561106eLower case n
o1571116fLower case o
p16011270Lower case p
q16111371Lower case q
r16211472Lower case r
s16311573Lower case s
t16411674Lower case t
u16511775Lower case u
v16611876Lower case v
w16711977Lower case w
x17012078Lower case x
y17112179Lower case y
z1721227aLower case z
{1731237bOpening curly brace
|1741247cVertical line
}1751257dClosing curly brace
~1761267eTilde (approximate)
DEL1771277fDelete (rubout), cross-hatch box

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Conversion Results To Base

ASCII To Octal Conversion
ASCII To Decimal Conversion
ASCII To Hex Conversion
ASCII To Binary Conversion
Version 6.2.2

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