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Introduction If you're somewhat familiar with computers, then you know that all modern computers are "digital", i. In the very early days of computing 'sit became clear that computers could be used for more than just number crunching. They could be used to store and manipulate text. This could be done by simply representing different alphabetic letters by specific numbers. For example, the number 65 to represent the letter "A", 66 to represent "B", and so on.

At first, there was no standard, and different ways of representing text as numbers developed, e. By the late 's computers were getting more common, and starting to communicate with each other. There was a pressing need for a standard way to represent text so it could be understood by different models and brands of computers. This was the impetus for the development of the ASCII table, first published in but based on earlier similar tables used by teleprinters.

If you've read this far then you probably know that around then 'san 8-bit byte was becoming the standard way that computer hardware was built, and that you can store different numbers in a 7-bit number.

It was therefore decided to use 7 bits to store the new ASCII code, with the eighth bit being used as a parity bit to detect transmission errors. Over time, this table had limitations which were overcome in different ways. First, there were "extended" or "8-bit" variations to accomodate European languages primarily, or mathematical symbols.

These are not "standards", but used by different computers, languages, manufacturers, printers at different times. Thus there are many variations of the 8-bit or extended "ascii table". None of them is reproduced here, but you can read about them in the references below ref. By the 's there was a need to include non-English languages, including those that used other alphabets, e.

Chinese, Hindi, Persian etc. The UNICODE representation uses 16 bits to store each alphanumeric character, which allows for many tens of thousands of different characters to be stored or displayed ref. Even as these new standards are phased in, the 7-bit ASCII table continues to be the backbone of modern computing and data storage. It is one of the few real standards that all computers understand, and everything from e-mail to web browsing to document editing would not be possible without it.

It is so ubiquitous that the terms "text file" and "ascii file" have come to mean the same thing for most computer users. Back to Top 7-bit Ascii Table The table that is reproduced below is the most commonly used 7-bit Ascii table. I have tried to transcribe it as carefully as possible, but if you notice any errors please let me know so I can fix them.

This is provided for convenience, and should not be considered the official standard which is available from ANSI ref. A Brief Introduction http:

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