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Encyclopedia > Binary file
A Hexdump of a JPEG image. First column numerates the line's starting address.
A Hexdump of a JPEG image. First column numerates the line's starting address.

A binary file is a computer file which may contain any type of data, encoded in binary form for computer storage and processing purposes; for example, computer document files containing formatted text. Many binary file formats contain parts that can be interpreted as text; binary files that contain only textual data - without, for example, any formatting information - are called plain text files. In ordinary usage they are typically contrasted with binary files, so that binary files are all files which do not contain merely plain text. Image File history File links Binary_file. ... Image File history File links Binary_file. ... Hexdump is a utility which dumps (displays) the specified file in ascii, decimal, hexadecimal and octal format. ... In computing, JPEG (pronounced JAY-peg; IPA: ) is a commonly used standard method of compression for photographic images. ... A computer file is a collection of information that is stored in a computer system and can be identified by its full path name. ... The binary numeral system, or base-2 number system, is a numeral system that represents numeric values using two symbols, usually 0 and 1. ... A document file format is a text or binary file format for storing documents on a storage media, especially for use by computers. ... Formatted text, styled text or rich text, as opposed to plain text, has styling information beyond the minimum of semantic elements: colours, styles (boldface, italic), sizes and special features (such as hyperlinks). ... A file format is a particular way to encode information for storage in a computer file. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Plain text. ...

Contents

Binary file formats

Binary files are usually thought of as being a sequence of bytes, which means the binary digits (bits) are grouped in eights. Binary files typically contain bytes that are intended to be interpreted as something other than text characters. Compiled computer programs are typical examples; indeed, compiled applications (object files) are sometimes referred to, particularly by programmers, as binaries. But binary files can also contain images, sounds, compressed versions of other files, etc. — in short, any type of file content whatsoever. In computer science a byte is a unit of measurement of information storage, often containing eight bits. ... This article is about the unit of information. ... A compiler is a computer program that translates a computer program written in one computer language (called the source language) into an equivalent program written in another computer language (called the output or the target language). ... In computer science, object file or object code is an intermediate representation of code generated by a compiler after it processes a source code file. ...


Some binary files contain headers, blocks of metadata used by a computer program to interpret the data in the file. For example, a GIF file can contain multiple images, and headers are used to identify and describe each block of image data. If a binary file does not contain any headers, it may be called a flat binary file In information technology, Header refers to supplemental data placed at the beginning of a block of data being stored or transmitted, which contain information for the handling of the data block. ... Metadata (Greek meta after and Latin data information) are data that describe other data. ... A computer program is a collection of instructions that describe a task, or set of tasks, to be carried out by a computer. ... An example of a GIF image. ...


Manipulating binary files

To send binary files through certain systems (such as e-mail) that do not allow all data values, they are often translated into a plain text representation (using, for example, Base64). This encoding has the disadvantage of increasing the file's size by approximately 30% during the transfer, as well as requiring translation back into binary after receipt. See Binary to text encoding for more on this subject. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Base 64 is a positional numeral system using a base of 64. ... A binary to text encoding is encoding of data in plain text. ...


Microsoft Windows allows the programmer to specify a system call parameter indicating if a file is text or binary; Unix does not, and treats all files as binary. This reflects the fact that the distinction between the two types of files is to a certain extent arbitrary. Microsoft Windows is the name of several families of proprietary software operating systems by Microsoft. ... In computing, a system call is the mechanism used by an application program to request service from the operating system, or more specifically, the operating system kernel. ... Filiation of Unix and Unix-like systems Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX®) is a computer operating system originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy. ...


Viewing binary files

A view of a small binary file in a Hex editor.
A view of a small binary file in a Hex editor.

If you open a binary file in a text editor, each group of eight bits will typically be translated as a single character, and you will see a (probably unintelligible) display of textual characters. If you were to open it in some other application, that application will have its own use for each byte: maybe the application will treat each byte as a number and output a stream of numbers between 0 and 255 — or maybe interpret the numbers in the bytes as colors and display the corresponding picture. If the file is itself treated as an executable and run, then the computer will attempt to interpret the file as a series of instructions in its machine language. Image File history File links Viewing_binary_files. ... Image File history File links Viewing_binary_files. ... Hexplorer, an open-source hex editor for Microsoft Windows A hex editor (or binary file editor or byte editor) is a type of computer program that allows a user to manipulate binary (normally non-plain text) computer files. ... Notepad is the standard text editor for Microsoft Windows A text editor is a piece of computer software for editing plain text. ... A system of codes directly understandable by a computers CPU is termed this CPUs native or machine language. ...


A hex editor may be used to view hexadecimal (and possibly also decimal, binary or ASCII character) values for corresponding bytes of a binary file. The bytes may then be manipulated by changing the hexadecimal value in the hex editor. Hexplorer, an open-source hex editor for Microsoft Windows A hex editor (or binary file editor or byte editor) is a type of computer program that allows a user to manipulate binary (normally non-plain text) computer files. ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Text file - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (824 words)
The term 'text file' is typically used in contrast with the term 'binary file', even though any file is fundamentally a sequence of arbitrary bits, and many computer components (for example, all hard disk circuitry and most system software) make no distinction between file types.
Text files are files where most bytes (or short sequences of bytes) represent ordinary readable characters such as letters, digits, and punctuation (including spaces), and include some control characters such as tabs, line feeds and carriage returns.
Text files have some advantages even for data storage because they avoid certain problems with binary files, such as endianness, padding bytes, or differences in the number of bytes in a machine word.
Binary file - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (488 words)
A binary file is a computer file which may contain any type of data, encoded in binary form for computer storage and processing purposes; for example, computer document files containing formatted text.
Binary files are usually thought of as being a sequence of bytes, which means the binary digits (bits) are grouped in eights.
Binary files typically contain bytes that are intended to be interpreted as something other than text characters.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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