How to read binary and relate them to text  

Posted by the Writer

I've come across tees on Thinkgeek that featured binary and not know what to make of it. Sometimes, I wouldn't understand jokes on XKCD either because it had binary.


XKCD + Thinkgeek = Geeky
Geeky + (- Binary) = - Geeky and no understanding

Tell me you got that.

This is a super basic tutorial on reading binary. Anything more advanced, you won't find it here. Yet.
But if you have more beginner's tips to add to this, please feel free to do so in the comments. I'd love to learn more.

Anyway, two things you have to understand:
1. Binary codes come in 1s and 0s where 1 is On/Include and 0 is Off/Exclude.
2. Binary codes are calculated with multipliers of 2 and are read from the right to left.
E.g. 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1
*It can also be calculated by bases of 2 which yields the same results. Whichever floats your boat.
E.g. 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20

Keep in mind both points.

Now, once I show you this picture, you will magically know how to do simple binary readings.
A binary code of 01000010 equates to the sum of 66:

If 66 actually refers to something, you could look it up and decipher all the other codes to get a message which I will show you now.

To relate it with text, you'll be looking at the ASCII control characters and printable characters. Read about it on wikipedia for more information. I can't be bothered with the nuts and bolts of it now.

I've only included the printable characters because it's more relevant in this example.


What you do is calculate the decimal from the binary and then refer the decimal to the table for your alphabet and/or symbols.

From the example above, our binary is 01000010. The decimal is 66. So the alphabet it's referring to is "B".

Simple right? I know!

You'll notice that the chart shows 7 bit binaries aka 7 numbers (E.g 100 0010). But I like 8 bits (E.g. 0100 0010) cause it's an even number. Some committee decided to stick with 7 bits because it was more cost-efficient.

*Calculate, then hover for answers.

I can't believe I wasted a few hours on this crap.




Eh, I also like learning all these things wan lo! If I didn't have to study and I could live on writing treatments from home, earning myself enough to survive. Yea Chea Hwey, you no need to do your reading log ah?! I'm almost finishing my first one!! HaHAhAhAHa. I actually understand it!

OMG!!! We only have to do reading log for Week 2!! Week 1 no need! Got an email this morning..
Then you tell me what Week 1 is about lah, don't waste your effort.

I emailed her that's why she got back to everyone.

Thanks for sharing how to read binary. I really found interesting. Lol. Good effort! But the process took too long to find out a letter.So tiring eventough it's fun enough.

"XKCD + Thinkgeek = Geeky
Geeky + (- Binary) = - Geeky and no understanding"

I couldn't get what you mean...

XKCD and Thinkgeek equates to something geeky.
When you add "geeky" and "negative-binary" which in this case is, not knowing how to read binary, it equates to not being geeky enough (negative-geeky) and even worse, no understanding of binary.

Okay, I got it, lol!


Anonymous   says 3:24 pm


It says "DAD"
simple as that

Anonymous   says 3:45 pm

You dont need to conver the binary to dec to translate it get a simple ASCII chart and look up the 8 bit codes. The chart you have is just dropping the first 0 on the ASCII because all the keys related to it start with 0, every byte is 8 bits and will always be as in:


Anonymous   says 8:33 am

as im sure you guys see the binary up there is not correct, they have capital A as 129, and clearly thats not correct, but the decimal translation is correct

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