What Are Alphanumeric Characters? The Meaning of Alphanumeric & Some Common Examples of Alphanumeric Code

The term alphanumeric denotes a combination of letters and numbers. The 26 letters of the English alphabet and the digits 0 through 9 are therefore considered alphanumeric characters. In alphanumeric codes, common symbols, mathematical symbols, and punctuation marks such as @, #, and! are also utilised.

What does the term alphabetic mean?

Merriam-Webster defines alphanumeric as an adjective composed of the terms “alphabetical” and “numeric.” As stated previously, the term “alphanumeric” can comprise Roman numerals 0 through 9 as well as uppercase and lowercase letters A through Z. Note that punctuation and mathematical symbols are considered non-alphanumeric characters. Typical alphanumeric codes contain characters such as @, #, and $.

When working with machines, the use of alphanumeric language is crucial. In the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, for instance, computer programmers employ alphanumeric characters (ASCII). In addition, the English language inherently arranges words in alphabetical order. In other words, when sorting a list of words alphabetically, a term containing a number or a percentage may appear first, even if there are words that begin with the letter “a.”

Numerical Characters

Still unsure of what alphanumeric characters are, or what typically comprises alphanumeric codes? Here is the complete alphabetic and numeric character set:

Alphabetic Symbols:

The alphabet consists of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z.


@ (“at” symbol)

$ (dollar sign) (dollar sign)

(pound sign) (pound sign)

Unique Characters:

& (ampersand) (ampersand)

  • (asterisk) (asterisk)

{ } (braces) (braces)


, (comma) (comma)

= (equal sign) (equal sign)

– (hyphen) (hyphen)

() (parenthesis) (parenthesis)

. (period) (period)

  • (plus sign) (plus sign)

; (semicolon) (semicolon)

‘ (apostrophe, or single quotation mark) (apostrophe, or single quotation mark)

/ (slash) (slash)

On a keyboard, alphanumeric keys are normally arranged across five rows, with the numeric row located at the top and the alphabetic rows below. A functioning row of keys, such as the space bar or the CTRL, ALT, and FN keys, rests below or, in some cases, to the edges of the keyboard.

Almost certainly, you have encountered websites or account logins that demand alphanumeric passwords. Frequently, a clever alphanumeric combination might boost a person’s cybersecurity defence. In addition, alphanumeric characters can be used to generate file names; however, symbols such as the slash (/) and question mark (?) are typically not permitted in file names and other functions.

Alphanumeric Examples

How should one depict alphabetic and numeric characters and codes? Considering how they are utilised in daily life. As stated previously, alphanumeric passwords are more secure. Using only lowercase letters for a six-character password, for instance, makes it easier for a hacker to determine your password. Moreover, the majority of people who favour passwords consisting of solely lowercase letters also employ common terms, making their passwords considerably easier to guess. Consequently, using alphanumeric passwords might reduce the likelihood of your account being compromised.

As a mode of communication, central processing units (CPUs) also frequently utilise alphanumeric characters. Programmers frequently communicate using only numbers, although each number actually symbolises a letter. This “language” is known as binary coding, in which a unique sequence of “0” and “1” represents a specific alphanumeric character. For example, “A” is written as 01000001 in binary code.

Need a more practical illustration? Well, alphanumeric characters are also employed to identify the seating order of passengers on flights. Row “I” is frequently skipped on aeroplanes so the letter is not confused with the number 1. In addition, automobile manufacturers avoid using the letters “I,” “O,” and “Q” since they are comparable to the digits 1 and 0. Similarly, electrical connectors avoid identifying pins with “I,” “O,” “Q,” “S,” and “Z” since they resemble the numerals 1, 0, 5, 3, and 2. In the past, people received messages via alphanumeric pagers and beepers.

Alphanumeric Code

Several varieties of alphanumeric code, including Morse code, Baudot code, EBCDIC, UNICODE, and ASCII, are widely used today. Prior to the widespread introduction of alternative storage medium, Hollerith code was also utilised; however, it is now considered archaic.

Let’s examine the five codes that are still regularly used today in further depth.

The Morse Code was established by Samuel F.B. Morse in 1837. It uses a combination of short and long elements (dots and dashes) to represent letters, numbers, and special characters. Short and long elements can be represented using sounds, markings, pulses, and on-off keying. For instance, a dot and a dash create the letter A, five dots form the digit 5, and the same rule (i.e., 10 dots) applies to the digit 10. In the International Morse code, a dash is equivalent to three dots.

The Baudot code is an additional popular alphanumeric code. In 1870, the French engineer Emile Baudot invented it. This code employs five pieces to represent the alphabet. In contrast to the Morse Code, which made it possible for telegraphs to transmit Roman letters, punctuation, and control signals, all symbols were of identical duration.

ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII codes, which evolved from telegraphic codes, are used to represent alphanumeric data in computer input/output. They are organised according to the English alphabet. ASCII was introduced as a standard code in 1967 and has undergone numerous modifications since then, with the most recent coming in 1986.

Almost 128 characters can be represented by seven-bit characters. These 95 characters include 26 uppercase letters (A–Z), 26 lowercase letters (a–z), 10 numeric characters (0–9), and 33 special characters (mathematical symbols, space characters, etc.). In addition, it gives codes for 33 obsolete non-printing characters, excluding carriage return and/or line feed.

EBCDIC: Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code This code, which is pronounced “ehb-suh-dik” or “ehb-kuh-dik,” was created by IBM and is commonly used by computers to transport alphanumeric data. As an 8-bit code, it can represent the digits 0 through 9 using the BCD code 8421 preceded by 1111. Consequently, EBCDIC can support up to 28 characters, for a total of 256.

Unicode: ASCII and EBCDIC codes are limited and do not allow for multilingual computer processing. Here is when Unicode comes into play. Unicode contains the most comprehensive character encoding technique, enabling computers to encode and utilise any text. It represents 65,536 distinct letters in 16 bits, which allows it to be encoded for computer use. It supports various languages and a comprehensive collection of mathematical and technical symbols, which substantially simplifies the transmission of scientific data.


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