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Character Representations

Computers do numbers. Just numbers. They don't do pictures, sounds or text. They just kid on that they do.

To represent all these other things computers use a series of numbers, and to ensure that everyone knows what everyone else is talking about the same series of numbers is used for the same thing. A WAV file, for example, uses a series of numbers to store sound. The format of the file is well defined which means that any computer can read a WAV file created on any other computer.

Text works the same way. Characters are encoded using a number. The actual number doesn't really matter as long as we know what the number is and everyone uses the same one.

This section covers some of the methods used for assigning characters to numbers.

Next: ASCII