Character String

What Does Character String Mean?

A character string is a series of characters represented by bits of code and organized into a single variable. This string variable holding characters can be set to a specific length or analyzed by a program to identify its length.


Techopedia Explains Character String

In many kinds of computer programs, character strings are marked by specific syntax, which often includes quotation marks, and are set up or dimensioned by various programming commands. These are then used to house different types of data that represent ASCII characters. In many cases, a single byte represents one character by storing a specific value corresponding to that character. Different coding conventions can use Unicode or UTF protocols or "octet" protocols identifying bytes as the units of operation.

A character string can play many roles in a computer program. For example, a programmer can create an unpopulated character string with a command in the load function of a program. A user event can input data into that character string. If the user types in a word or phrase such as "hello world," the program can then later read that character string and print it, display it on the screen, reserve it for storage, etc.

In modern programming, character strings are often involved in data capture and data storage functions that take in names or other types of information.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…