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A gentle introduction to hexadecimal (base 16).

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.

Because a digit can have values greater than 9, there are additional digit values allowed in hex:

  • A (10), B (11), C (12), D (13), E (14) and F (15)

To convert a decimal number to hex, you remove multiples of those powers of 16 as shown below.

The benefit of using hexadecimal instead of binary is that it is much shorter to write, but still lets us easily determine the value of specific bits:

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