Acronym for the American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Pronounced ask-ee, ASCII is a code for representing English characters as numbers, with each letter assigned a number from 0 to 127. For example, the ASCII code for uppercase M is 77. Most computers use ASCII codes to represent text, which makes it possible to transfer data from one computer to another.
Text files stored in ASCII format are sometimes called ASCII files. 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. Executable programs are never stored in ASCII format.
The standard ASCII character set uses just 7 bits for each character. There are several larger character sets that use 8 bits, which gives them 128 additional characters. The extra characters are used to represent non-English characters, graphics symbols, and mathematical symbols. Several companies and organizations have proposed extensions for these 128 characters. The DOS operating system uses a superset of ASCII called extended ASCII or high ASCII. A more universal standard is the ISO Latin 1 set of characters, which is used by many operating systems, as well as Web browsers.
Another set of codes that is used on large IBM computers is EBCDIC.
Standard ASCII (Alphanumeric Characters)
This is Chapter 1 of Randall Hyde's book, "Art of Assembly Language." It describes the binary and hexadecimal numbering systems, binary data organization (bits, nibbles, bytes, words, and double words), signed and unsigned numbering systems, arithmetic, logical, shift, and rotate operations on binary values, bit fields and packed data, and the ASCII character set.
Updated on Aug 5, 1998
ASCII symbol page with HTML codes|
Provides a table with ISO Latin 1 character entities and HTML escape sequence codes.
Updated on Jun 18, 1997
Character Set Standards|
Provides information on character sets that can be used for data interchange.
Updated on Jul 22, 1998
Robelle's overview of ASCII control characters|
Explains what a control character is, and offers tables of all the control characters in ASCII, plus the regular, printing characters.
Updated on Nov 16, 1997
Yahoo!'s ASCII data format page|
Yahoo!'s directory of ASCII data format.
Updated on Aug 4, 1998