What Is Binary Code and How Does It Work?

April 26, 2023 - (Free)

A binary coding scheme uses only two digits, usually 0 and 1, to express information and instructions. Computers employ this fundamental language to store and process information. A set of eight bits is referred to as a byte, and each binary digit is referred to as a bit.

Everything in a computer’s memory, including program instructions, data, and images, is represented in binary code. The central processing unit (CPU) of the computer uses binary code to execute computations, make decisions, and perform other actions.

For instance, a letter that you input on a computer keyboard is converted into binary code so that the computer can read it. The letter is then shown on the screen by the CPU once the binary code has been processed and saved in the computer’s memory.

Because binary code can be challenging for humans to read and comprehend, programmers employ programming languages and software tools to make it simpler for them to deal with. However, the fundamental representation of all data and software in a computer is binary code.

Eight “bits,” also referred to as a “byte,” make up binary numbers. The single one or zero that makes up an 8-bit binary number is referred to as a bit. For the purpose of storing data in computer memory, binary integers can also be converted into text characters using ASCII Codes.

Binary Code

How Binary Numbers Work

Considering that computers operate on a base 2 binary system, converting a binary number to a decimal number is fairly straightforward. Each binary digit’s decimal value is determined by where it is placed. The values for an 8-bit binary number are computed as follows:

  • Bit 1: 2 to the power of 0 = 1
  • Bit 2: 2 to the power of 1 = 2
  • Bit 3: 2 to the power of 2 = 4
  • Bit 4: 2 to the power of 3 = 8
  • Bit 5: 2 to the power of 4 = 16
  • Bit 6: 2 to the power of 5 = 32
  • Bit 7: 2 to the power of 6 = 64
  • Bit 8: 2 to the power of 7 = 128

Any decimal number from 0 to 255 can be represented by adding individual values when the bit has a one. By increasing the amount of bits in the system, many greater numbers can be represented.

The highest individual number the CPU could calculate back when computers had 16-bit operating systems was 65,535. 32-bit operating systems could handle decimal numbers up to 2,147,483,647 in size. The maximum decimal number that can be processed by a modern computer system with 64-bit architecture is 9,223,372,036,854,775,807!

Information Representation Using ASCII

You might be wondering how computers use the binary number system to store text information now that you know how they can use it to deal with decimal numbers.

This is made possible via a system known as ASCII coding.

There are 128 text or special characters in the ASCII table, each of which has a corresponding decimal value. Text data can be read from and stored in computer memory by any ASCII-capable program (such as word processors).

The following are some instances of binary numbers represented as ASCII text:

  • 11011 = 27, which is the ESC key in ASCII
  • 110000 = 48, which is 0 in ASCII
  • 1000001 = 65, which is A in ASCII
  • 1111111 = 127, which is the DEL key in ASCII

Binary Code and Storing Information

The binary number system is responsible for enabling all of the written and read papers, websites, and video games.

Computers can manipulate and store various kinds of data in and out of computer memory thanks to binary coding. The binary number system is used by everything that is computerized, including the computers in your automobile and mobile phone.


The way of encoding data and instructions using only two digits, commonly 0 and 1, is known as binary code. Binary code is a fundamental notion in computing. It is the language that computers use to transmit, store, and process data.

Binary code is a sophisticated tool that enables computers to process enormous amounts of information at quick speeds, despite how straightforward it may seem. All contemporary computing technology, from microprocessors to supercomputers, is based on it.

Although binary code can be challenging for humans to read and comprehend, it has been made easier for programmers to use via the development of software tools and programming languages. Overall, binary coding is a key component of contemporary technological infrastructure and a fundamental idea in computing.