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:-

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

Standard characters are represented as follows:-

©Ray White 2004.