How to Understand Binary Code


Introduction: How to Understand Binary Code

About: I am currently at college at the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus. I am enrolled in the Computer Science Associate degree and plan to finish with the Bachelor's degree. I was previou...

Have you ever wanted to learn binary code? Did you not know that one could understand binary code? Have you ever seen the joke "There are 10 People in this world, those who know binary and those who don't." and didn't get it? Well if you are any of those above, then you've come to the right place.

Step 1: How to Translate Binary

The key to reading binary is separating the code into groups of usually 8 digits and knowing that each 1 or 0 represents a 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128, ect. from the right to the left. the numbers are easy to remember because they start at 1 and then are multiplied by 2 every time. so the first number on the right equals 1 if it shows 1 or nothing if it is 0, then the second number from the right equals 2 if it shows 1 and nothing if it is 0, then the third number equals 4 if it show 1 and nothing if it is 0, see patern? so you keep doing that for each 1 or 0, multiplying the number times 2, and when you finish, add all the numbers, and you're done! it's that easy!

The code needs to be separated into groups in order to translate. The group is usually 8 long, called base 8, but can be anything. the larger it is the higher the maximum number it can be.

If you don't understand yet, then let's look at the grid in the photo, and try to read the numbers, we will start with the light blue one. So since you start at the right, you will see that the rightmost digit is a 0, meaning it is equal to nothing, the next 2 are also 0, so they are also nothing, but the 4th is a 1, so it's equal to 8, the fourth number in the list(1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128). The next digit is also a 1, so it equals 16, the 5th number, and since the rest are 0 and equal nothing, you add all of your numbers, which are 8 and 16, so the light blue code is 24.

Still don't get it? each 1 or 0 represents the black number above it, if it 1 you add the number, if it's 0 you ignore it. so if you go with that the red code equals 201, the purple equals 27, and the pink equals 199. Try and see if you can figure out what the green is.

If you don't get it or are having trouble feel free to ask in comments and I will try to help as best as I can. thanks for viewing this instructable and I hope you liked it!

Step 2: Interesting and Cool Facts

Here are a few cool things about binary.

Even though it may not seem like it, it can represent any positive whole number.

If it is solid 1s, then it equals 1 less than what the next number would represent. for example, if you had all 4 1s, it would equal 1 less than what the 5th would represent, or 15.

All computer files are made of binary code, with a 8 1s and 0s being a byte, and a single 1 or 0 being a bit,



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    22 Discussions


    thanks alot!

    85 is the number for the green code

    thanks! very helpful

    I got 24,201,27,199,85 how do ivturn un tovletters or words anyone please im not understanding i think some of the numbers are negative, positive i think all if them but 24 are negative ("HELP")

    1 reply

    Hello, I'm not quite sure how you got negative since all that is used is addition and multiplication, but to turn them into letters you must have a key(a=1, b=2, c=3, etc.). ASCII is the primary key that people use, simply search ASCII chadt on the internet and I'm sure you will find what you are looking for.

    I got 24,201,27,199,85 how do ivturn un tovletters or words anyone please im not understanding i think some of the numbers are negative, positive i think all if them but 24 are negative ("HELP")

    The green equals 85 now hiw do u turn numvers in to letter

    the green is 85. 01010100 01001000 01000001 01001110 01001011 01010011 :) these are letters. ;)

    Trailogy asked you to fix the typos but didn't say what they were. These are the ones I noticed: "and your done" should be "and you're done;" "your welcome" should be "you're welcome." "Your" is possessive, as in "It is your computer." "You're" is a contraction meaning "you are." You're welcome=you are welcome. This is a very common oversight. Also, "if you had all 4 1s, it would equals 1 less . . ." The word should be equal, without the s.

    I'm a grammar freak . . . your explanation of binary code is great! Thanks!

    1 reply

    Thanks! I fixed those errors. With "your welcome," are you talking about one
    of my comments?

    This has nothing to do with learning binary code u shold add how to know what sequence of numbers is a certain letter

    1 reply

    This is how to learn binary code, translating the number into a character is simply a use of binary, albeit the most common one, still just a use.

    It would be didn't you know one could understand binary code

    Sweet! Easy to understand and I learned something new! Just a suggestion, I would fix the typos. :P. Thanks so much.


    1 reply

    Typos? I tried carefully to remove them all. could you point out some of them?

    This is cool. It took me a couple times reading it to understand tho. Maybe it's because I barely have a sixth grade education???