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Hexadecimal:Uses and Applications

Hexadecimal, efficient in representing numbers has significant role in computer science.

blog-post-image Hexadecimal

Hexadecimal,one of the most popular and efficient way to represent number.As the name goes,Hexa(6) and decimal(10) has base of (10+6=)16 which means it consists of 16 digits.They include 0-9 and alphabets A-F in English representing values of 10-15. It requires a set of (16=24)4 bit binary numbers to represent any digit or character.

Hexadecimal, efficient in representing numbers is widely used in programming, digital electronics, computer circuits, electronic devices etc.

Let's have a look at the significance of this number system.

  1. The most priority of Hexa number comes in case of memory representation in computer. The largest number in a byte(=8 bits) in microcomputer controlling is 1111 1111. Now if we want to represent it in octal it's goinf to take 3 bits(377). On the other hand representing the number in Hexadecimal will take only 2 bits(FF). This makes the sense that hexadecimal numbers increase the space efficiency.

  2. The next significant application of hexadecimal comes in case of color representation in sector of web page designing. Each and every possible colors can be represented as combination of red, gree and blue, the set of primary colors. Here the values are given for red, green and blue in hexadecimal number to represent a color. For example- #FF0000 where it means red(FF), green(00) and blue(00). So in practical the color is RGB(255,0,0) which is simply represented by hexadecimal codes. Thus hexadecimal codes can form combination of (256 red*256 blue*256 green=) 16 million possible colors.

  3. blog-post-image Hexadecimal numbers
  4. Hexadecimal uses a set of identifiers to represent various tasks mentioned below:

    Identifier Examples Notes
    0x 0x47DE This prefix has functionality in UNIX, C-based programming languages and even in arduino.
    # #FF7734 Color references in HTML and image editing programs.
    %s %20 Often used in URLs to represent characters like "Space"(%20)
    \x \x0A Used to express character control codes like "Backspace"(\x08), "Escape"(\x18), "Line Feed"(\x0A)
    0h 0h5E Prefix used by programmable graphic calculators.
    Numerical/Text Subscript A2Ehex BC16 Express Hexadecimal numbers
  5. ASCII a set of 7 bits code represent characters uses hexadecimal equivalent values.

  6. Every keys on keyboard generate character codes represented by HEX codes.

  7. The hexadecimal identifiers are essential for funcationality in assembly language programming.

  8. Hexadecimal numbers give a clear view about the number it represents. For example the number 0x23579823 indicates that it has MSB(Most Significant Bit) of 0x24 and LSB(Least Significant Bit) of 0x23 whereas its equivalent decimal value 592943139 represents nothing.

  9. Communication with SPI(Serial Peripheral Interface) requires registers where memory addressing is done using hexadecimal numbers.

  10. Hexadecimal numbers are effortlessly readable to engineers.

Thus Hexadecimal holds immense significance in Number System.


  • Akash Poddar

    Hello Institute of Information Technology Ltd.

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