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Computers can understand only the numeric values. But, it is not always certain that all the inputs are given in numeric form. So, there was a need for an encoding system which could convert the text files into numeric values. For this ASCII (pronounced as ask ee) was developed. AMERICAN STANDARD CODE FOR INFORMATION INTERCHANGE (ASCII) is an encoding approach, which is a code for representing 128 characters in English into seven bit integers. 95 out of 128 characters are printable which include digits from 0 to 9, lowercase and uppercase letters from a to z and the punctuation symbols. ASCII is used in electronic Communication. ASCII originated from the telegraph code and it was implied as a 7- bit code for teleprompter. In comparison to the telegraph code, ASCII codes are more convenient and can feature a large number of devices.


  • In 1960 a meeting of AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS INSTITUTE was held to discuss the issues related toconversion of text files into numeric values for smooth electronic communication.
  • Following the meeting, work started on formation of ASCII code by Oct 6 the same year under the framework of AMERICAN STANDARDS ASSOCAIATION (ASA).
  • The committee which was involved in formation of ASCII was X3 committee.
  • First edition of ASCII standard known as ASA X3.4 was published in the year 1963.
  • The edition was revised in 1967, and ASA was renamed to USAS (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA STANDARD INSTITUTE). The version was called USAS X3.4
  • In the year 1968, it went again through a small round of revision. The version was USAS X3.4
  • Then USAS was formulated into ANSI and it went through four revisions under ANSI in the years 1977 → 1986 → 1986(R1992) → 1986(R1997)
  • Next rounds of revision under ANSI INCITS 4 were published subsequently in 1986.


  • ASCII codes found its first use in the year 1963 in the telephone and telegraph as a seven bit teleprompter code.
  • On 11th of March in the year 1968, it became mandatory for all computers in US to be incorporated with ASCII.
  • Soon, ASCII became the most popular encoding system, its popularity continued till the year 2007. Later it was surpassed by UTF-8.


The mapping of text into characters is done using the ASCII table which has all possible conversion of the text fields into the numeric ones.

ASCII Introduction

With ASCII codes, we also have various standards like UNICODE, EBDIC, UTF-8, etc.

ASCII was succeed by the UTF-8 standard.Let us take a look at this standard.


  • Just like the ASCII, it is also a character encoding standard. UTF is abbreviated form of Unicode Transformation Format. The '8' means, the scheme uses 8 bit-blocks to represent a character. From 1 to 4 blocks are needed to represent a character.
  • How is ASCII better then UTF-8?
    • All characters in the ASCII standard can be encoded using the UTF-8 without causing an overhead on storage.
    • It also has added benefit of character support.

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