What is shift register? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Electronics glossary:

A shift register is a digital memory circuit found in calculators, computers, and data-processing systems. Bits (binary digits) enter the shift register at one end and emerge from the other end. The two ends are called left and right. Flip flops, also known as bistable gates, store and process the data.

In its most basic form, the shift register is a bidirectional FIFO (first-in first-out) circuit. When a bit is input on the left, all the bits in the register move one place to the right, and the rightmost bit disappears. When a bit is input on the right, all the bits move one place to the left, and the leftmost bit disappears.

Shift registers are commonly used in converters that translate parallel data to serial data, or vice-versa. Shift registers can also function as delay circuits and digital pulse extenders.

This was last updated in August 2012
Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • laser

    - A laser is a coherent and focused beam of photons; coherent, in this context, means that it is all one wavelength, unlike ordinary light which showers on us in many wavelengths. The acronym laser s... (WhatIs.com)

  • photon

    - In some ways, visible light behaves like a wave phenomenon, but in other respects it acts like a stream of high-speed, submicroscopic particles. (WhatIs.com)

  • IR LED (infrared light-emitting diode)

    - An IR LED (infrared light emitting diode) is a solid state lighting (SSL) device that emits light in the infrared range of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. (WhatIs.com)


  • Electronics

    - Terms related to electronics, including definitions about electrical components and words and phrases about computers, laptops parts, digital cameras, televisions and home appliances.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.