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ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Computers can only understand numbers, so an ASCII code is the numerical representation of a character such as 'a' or '@' or an action of some sort. ASCII was developed a long time ago and now the non-printing characters are rarely used for their original purpose. Below is the ASCII character table and this includes descriptions of the first 32 non-printing characters. ASCII was actually designed for use with teletypes and so the descriptions are somewhat obscure. If someone says they want your CV however in ASCII format, all this means is they want 'plain' text with no formatting such as tabs, bold or underscoring - the raw format that any computer can understand. This is usually so they can easily import the file into their own applications without issues. Notepad.exe creates ASCII text, or in MS Word you can save a file as 'text only'.
Extended ASCII Codes
As people gradually required computers to understand additional characters and non-printing characters the ASCII set became restrictive. As with most technology, it took a while to get a single standard for these extra characters and hence there are few varying 'extended' sets. The most popular is presented below.
Again, nothing to do with ASCII really, but has been requested by a number of you out there. To get special characters to show on an HTML web page, special codes can be used (ascii code or word) and are interpretted by the web browser.
IBM Scan Codes
The following table is nothing to do with ASCII, but has been requested by a number of you out there. When a key on your keyboard is pressed, a code is sent which can be recognised by software. Programmers will find the most use for this table to map keys to actions for the function keys etc.
ASCII is not the only format in use out there. IBM adopted EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code) developed for punched cards in the early 1960s and still uses it on mainframes today. It is probably the next most well known character set due to the proliferation of IBM mainframes. It comes in at least six slightly differing forms, so again here is the most common.
All information by www.asciitable.com