ASCII Table

Character Number Description Group
0 - 31 Control characters Printable Characters
32 space Printable Characters
! 33 exclamation mark Printable Characters
" 34 quotation mark Printable Characters
# 35 number sign Printable Characters
$ 36 dollar sign Printable Characters
% 37 percent sign Printable Characters
& 38 ampersand Printable Characters
39 apostrophe Printable Characters
( 40 left parenthesis Printable Characters
) 41 right parenthesis Printable Characters
* 42 asterisk Printable Characters
+ 43 plus sign Printable Characters
, 44 comma Printable Characters
- 45 hyphen Printable Characters
. 46 period Printable Characters
/ 47 slash Printable Characters
0 48 digit 0 Printable Characters
1 49 digit 1 Printable Characters
2 50 digit 2 Printable Characters
3 51 digit 3 Printable Characters
4 52 digit 4 Printable Characters
5 53 digit 5 Printable Characters
6 54 digit 6 Printable Characters
7 55 digit 7 Printable Characters
8 56 digit 8 Printable Characters
9 57 digit 9 Printable Characters
: 58 colon Printable Characters
; 59 semicolon Printable Characters
< 60 less-than Printable Characters
= 61 equals-to Printable Characters
> 62 greater-than Printable Characters
? 63 question mark Printable Characters
@ 64 at sign Printable Characters
A 65 uppercase A Printable Characters
B 66 uppercase B Printable Characters
C 67 uppercase C Printable Characters
D 68 uppercase D Printable Characters
E 69 uppercase E Printable Characters
F 70 uppercase F Printable Characters
G 71 uppercase G Printable Characters
H 72 uppercase H Printable Characters
I 73 uppercase I Printable Characters
J 74 uppercase J Printable Characters
K 75 uppercase K Printable Characters
L 76 uppercase L Printable Characters
M 77 uppercase M Printable Characters
N 78 uppercase N Printable Characters
O 79 uppercase O Printable Characters
P 80 uppercase P Printable Characters
Q 81 uppercase Q Printable Characters
R 82 uppercase R Printable Characters
S 83 uppercase S Printable Characters
T 84 uppercase T Printable Characters
U 85 uppercase U Printable Characters
V 86 uppercase V Printable Characters
W 87 uppercase W Printable Characters
X 88 uppercase X Printable Characters
Y 89 uppercase Y Printable Characters
Z 90 uppercase Z Printable Characters
[ 91 left square bracket Printable Characters
\ 92 backslash Printable Characters
] 93 right square bracket Printable Characters
^ 94 caret Printable Characters
_ 95 underscore Printable Characters
` 96 grave accent Printable Characters
a 97 lowercase a Printable Characters
b 98 lowercase b Printable Characters
c 99 lowercase c Printable Characters
d 100 lowercase d Printable Characters
e 101 lowercase e Printable Characters
f 102 lowercase f Printable Characters
g 103 lowercase g Printable Characters
h 104 lowercase h Printable Characters
i 105 lowercase i Printable Characters
j 106 lowercase j Printable Characters
k 107 lowercase k Printable Characters
l 108 lowercase l Printable Characters
m 109 lowercase m Printable Characters
n 110 lowercase n Printable Characters
o 111 lowercase o Printable Characters
p 112 lowercase p Printable Characters
q 113 lowercase q Printable Characters
r 114 lowercase r Printable Characters
s 115 lowercase s Printable Characters
t 116 lowercase t Printable Characters
u 117 lowercase u Printable Characters
v 118 lowercase v Printable Characters
w 119 lowercase w Printable Characters
x 120 lowercase x Printable Characters
y 121 lowercase y Printable Characters
z 122 lowercase z Printable Characters
{ 123 left curly brace Printable Characters
| 124 vertical bar Printable Characters
} 125 right curly brace Printable Characters
~ 126 tilde Printable Characters
NUL 0 null character Device Control Characters
SOH 1 start of header Device Control Characters
STX 2 start of text Device Control Characters
ETX 3 end of text Device Control Characters
EOT 4 end of transmission Device Control Characters
ENQ 5 enquiry Device Control Characters
ACK 6 acknowledge Device Control Characters
BEL 7 bell (ring) Device Control Characters
BS 8 backspace Device Control Characters
HT 9 horizontal tab Device Control Characters
LF 10 line feed Device Control Characters
VT 11 vertical tab Device Control Characters
FF 12 form feed Device Control Characters
CR 13 carriage return Device Control Characters
SO 14 shift out Device Control Characters
SI 15 shift in Device Control Characters
DLE 16 data link escape Device Control Characters
DC1 17 device control 1 Device Control Characters
DC2 18 device control 2 Device Control Characters
DC3 19 device control 3 Device Control Characters
DC4 20 device control 4 Device Control Characters
NAK 21 negative acknowledge Device Control Characters
SYN 22 synchronize Device Control Characters
ETB 23 end transmission block Device Control Characters
CAN 24 cancel Device Control Characters
EM 25 end of medium Device Control Characters
SUB 26 substitute Device Control Characters
ESC 27 escape Device Control Characters
FS 28 file separator Device Control Characters
GS 29 group separator Device Control Characters
RS 30 record separator Device Control Characters
US 31 unit separator Device Control Characters
Device Control Characters
DEL 127 delete (rubout) Device Control Characters

Before 1963, computer manufacturers had over sixty different ways of representing characters in computers. Machines could not communicate with one another. This problem was becoming increasingly evident as companies like IBM began networking computers. That year, ASCII (pronounced “AS-KEE”), the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, was released to serve as a common language among computers. The idea was that 128 characters—letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and control codes—would each have a standard numeric value.

In May 1961, an IBM engineer, Bob Bemer, sent a proposal to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop a single code for computer communication. ANSI created the X3.4 Committee, assembling most of the existing computer makers under the leadership of John Auwaerter of the Teletype Corporation to work on a solution.

Over two years, the committee negotiated how the code would look and operate. Part of their difficulty was deciding which company’s proprietary characters would be included in the system. Bemer, now known as the “father of ASCII,” seemed to get most of his original wishes when the committee released its final design.

Among his important contributions was the “escape” sequence. Committee members, working in the limits of seven-bit hardware, could only created 128 characters. Understanding that this was not enough to create a global system, Bemer developed a method allowing computers to switch from one alphabet to another. More than 150 “extra-ASCII” alphabets have been created since 1963.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a memorandum adopting ASCII as the standard communication language for federal computers. ASCII became ubiquitous with the spread of the Internet, as it was the basis for characters in email messages and HTML documents. It was present in hardware and most computer operating systems, although Windows moved away from ASCII with the release of its NT operating system in the late 1990s, which used the Unicode standard.

Yet it took eighteen years for ASCII to become installed in most computers from its year of publication. When IBM released its game-changing System/360 in 1964, the head of the development team, Frederick Brooks, decided that its punch cards and printers were not yet capable of using ASCII. IBM stuck with the old EBCDIC standard, entrenching the old punch-card code for years to come. Only the Univac 1050 and the typewriters produced by Teletype would adopted ASCII in the 1960s. In 1981, however, ASCII became the new standard when it released its first personal computer featuring the operating system.

ASCII Standards

The ASCII character set has gone through numerous changes over the years. This page lists some of the resources available that discuss the ASCII standards process over the years. ASCII is only one character set however, and this page lists some other sets that have been or currently are being used.

ASCII

EBCDIC

Unicode

Atari Character Set

Commodore Character Set

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