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Definition

hexadecimal

Hexadecimal describes a base-16 number system. That is, it describes a numbering system containing 16 sequential numbers as base units (including 0) before adding a new position for the next number. (Note that we're using "16" here as a decimal number to explain a number that would be "10" in hexadecimal.) The hexadecimal numbers are 0-9 and then use the letters A-F. We show the equivalence of binary, decimal, and hexadecimal numbers in the table below.

Hexadecimal is a convenient way to express binary numbers in modern computers in which a byte is almost always defined as containing eight binary digits. When showing the contents of computer storage (for example, when getting a core dump of storage in order to debug a new computer program or when expressing a string of text characters or a string of binary values in coding a program or HTML page), one hexadecimal digit can represent the arrangement of four binary digits. Two hexadecimal digits can represent eight binary digits, or a byte.

Binary Decimal Hexadecimal
0 0 0
1 1 1
10 2 2
11 3 3
100 4 4
101 5 5
110 6 6
111 7 7
1000 8 8
1001 9 9
1010 10 A
1011 11 B
1100 12 C
1101 13 D
1110 14 E
1111 15 F
10000 16 10
10001 17 11
etc etc etc
This was last updated in September 2005
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