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A gentle (smile) 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 symbols 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, where each digit is a power of two, is that it is much shorter to write, but still lets us easily determine the value of specific bits:

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