Older Character Sets

Most of the 8-bit character sets described below are obsolete or rarely encountered. However, this information can be useful for converting older documents into a modern format.

IBM All Character 437 Set (ANSI)

This set is used in the original IBM PC and is also known as the ANSI character set. It uses codes from 128 to 168 for world trade characters, whilst the remaining codes are used for line graphics and other symbols. The codes from 155 to 159 are used for international currency symbols.

The 437 character set is shown below:-

The codes from 0 to 31 can produce the special characters as shown, or can be used for standard ASCII control codes, depending on the situation. Code 127 is normally used as a null character, thereby conforming to the ASCII standard, although code 255 can also be used for this function. Other non-standard character sets often employ some of the graphic codes from this set.

IBM Multilingual 850 Character Set

This is similar to the above, but has international characters in the place of some graphical elements, allowing almost any Roman-based language to be used.

ANSI VT Character Set

This is a variation of the ANSI character set, as used with VT220 and other terminals employed for data communications. It uses a special symbol for each control code, such as for a CR (carriage return), which means that such codes can be seen within a string of text.

VT100/VT102 Character Set

This is yet another communications variation of the ANSI character set, in this instance using special symbols for the control codes. The particular set shown here includes part of the Mac OS character set, as well as other standard characters for use with a VT100 or VT102 terminal:-

EBCDIC Character Set

Expanded Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC) text files are used in IBM mainframe computers and in other mini-computers. A special application is necessary to convert this code into ASCII or Latin-1 form. Unfortunately, not all the codes are entirely standardised.

The following tables only show those codes universally employed in the IBM System/360 EBCDIC character set. They begin with the following control codes:-

HexDec NameFunction HexDec NameFunction
000NUL *Null 1C28IFS *Interchange File separator
011SOH *Start of heading 1D29IGS *Interchange Group separator
022STX *Start of text 1E30IRS *Interchange Record separator
033ETX *End of text 1F31IUS *Interchange Unit separator
044PFPunch off 2032DSDigit select
055HTHorizontal tabulation 2133SOSStart of significance
066LCLower case 2234FSField separator
077DELDelete 2436BYPBypass
0A10SMMStart of manual message 2537LFLine feed
0B11VT *Vertical tabulation 2638ETBEnd of transmission block
0C12FF *Form feed 2739ESCEscape
0D13CR *Carriage return 2A42SMSet mode
0E14SO *Shift out 2B43CU2Customer use 2
0F15SI *Shift in 2D45ENQEnquire
1016DLEData link escape 2E46ACKAcknowledge
1117DC1 *Device control character 1 2F47BELBell
1218DC2 *Device control character 2 3250SYNSynchronous idle
1319DC3 *Device control character 3 3452PNPunch in
1420RESRestore 3553RSReader stop
1521NLNew line 3654UCUpper case
1622BSBack space 3755EOTEnd of transmission
1723ILIdle 3B59CU3Customer use 3
1824CAN *Cancel 3C60DC4Device control character 4
1925EM *End of medium 3D61NAKNot acknowledge
1A26CCCursor control 3F63SUBSubstitute
1B27CU1Customer use 1 4064SPSpace
* Code with similar function in ASCII set

Standard characters are represented as follows:-

Hex  000102030405060708090A0B0C0D0E0F
 Dec0123456789101112131415
4064          ¢,<(+|
5080&          $.);¬
6096/         :,%_>?
70112          :#@'="
80128 abcdefghi      
90144 jklmnopqr      
A0160  stuvwxyz      
B0176                
C0192 ABCDEFGHI      
D0208 JKLMNOPQR      
E0224  STUVWXYZ      
F0240      

©Ray White 2004.