A gentle introduction to hexadecimal (base 16).
|Table of Contents|
In our standard decimal system each digit (which can be 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) in a number represents a power of ten in that place:
The hexidecimal (base 16) system is similar, except that each digit represents a power of 16 in that place.
To convert a decimal number to hex, you remove multiples of those powers of 16 as shown below.
In the binary (base 2) system, The benefit of using hexadecimal instead of binary, where each digit is a power of two, and the digits are just 0 and 1.
It's easy to translate a hexadecimal number into binary because you can decompose each hex digit into its 4 bits.
The benefit of using hexadecimal instead of binary, is that it hex is much shorter to write, but still lets us easily determine the value of specific bits:.
Another popular base in the computer world is octal – (base 8) where each digit is a power of 8, and digits are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Octal is more compact than binary, but less compact than either decimal or hexadecimal.