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Characters are encoded by assigning specific bit patterns to character symbols. Among the many character encodings the ASCII (American Standard Code of Information Interchange) and the UniCode encoding are the most commonly used character codes.

The original ASCII code was a 7-bit code, being able to encode all characters of the English language and several special characters, such as a dot or a semicolon. However, this original code did not encode, for example, the umlauts of some of the European languages. Thus the ASCII code was extended by 1 bit (8-bit ASCII code) to encode these characters as well. The next extension of the ASCII code (from 8 bit to 16 bits) resulted in the UniCode which maps the characters of almost any language of the world. The ASCII code is a subset of the UniCode.


English version [265 kB]
German version [265 kB]
After downloading please unpack all files of
the zipped packages and start the executable.

The program "asciicode" allows to set the bits of a byte individually, showing the corresponding ASCII character. For downloading the program click on the little floppy disk symbols at right.

Last Update: 2006-Mar-04