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Alphanumeric is a combination of alphabetic and numeric (sometimes shortened to alphameric), and is used to describe the collection of Latin letters and Arabic digits used by much of western society. There are either 36 (single case) or 62 (case-sensitive) alphanumeric characters. The alphanumeric character set consists of the numbers 0 to 9 and letters A to Z.



In computing terminology, a character stored in alphanumeric form is considerably smaller than storing an 8-bit ASCII character, as each character is only 6 bits in length.

There is no standard for storing 6-bit alphanumeric data. A 6-bit field has 64 possible values, so if only 36 are used in single case, there is room for another 28 characters (usually slashes and other punctuation), making alphanumeric data useful for storing text and website addresses.

Subsets of alphanumeric used in human interfaces

When a string of mixed alphabets and numerals is presented for human interpretation, ambiguities arise. The most obvious is the similarity of the letters I, O and Q to the numbers 1 and 0. Therefore, depending on the application, various subsets of the alphanumeric were adopted to avoid-misinterpretation by humans.

In passenger aircraft, aircraft seat maps and seats were designated by row number followed by column letter. For wide bodied jets, the seats can be 10 across, labeled ABC-DEFG-HJK. The letter I is skipped to avoid mistaking it as row number 1.

In Vehicle Identification Number used by motor vehicle manufacturers, the letters I, O and Q are omitted for their similarity to 1or 0.

Tiny embossed letters are used to label pins on an V.35/M34 electrical connector. The letters I, O, Q, S and Z were dropped to ease eye strain with 1, 0, 5, and 2. That subset is named DEC Alphabet after the company that first used it.

For alphanumerics that are frequently handwritten, in addition to I and O, V is avoided because it looks like U in cursive, and Z for its similarity to 2.

Other references

In the TV show ReBoot, "alphanumeric" was an interjection used by Enzo as an equivalent of "cool!" or "awesome!" In the episode "Talent Night", it was used to mean "everything is all right."

See also

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



alpha(betic) + numeric


alphanumeric (not comparable)


not comparable

none (absolute)

  1. Consisting of letters and numbers, especially the characters A to Z (lowercase and uppercase) and 0 to 9
  2. Consisting of these characters plus punctuation and other special characters


Simple English

The word alphanumeric refers to a combination of letters and numbers used to describe or organize the collection of objects. The alphanumeric set consists of the numbers 0 to 9 and letters A to Z. An example of an alphanumeric word or code is "A1B2C3456" [1]



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