Object Code

What Does Object Code Mean?

Object code is produced when an interpreter or a compiler translates source code into recognizable and executable machine code.


Object code is a set of instruction codes that is understood by a computer at the lowest hardware level. Object code is usually produced by a compiler that reads some higher level computer language source instructions and translates them into equivalent machine language instructions.

Techopedia Explains Object Code

Just as human beings understand native languages, computers understand machine language, which is made up of object code. Software applications are built in multiple programming languages with a standard objective: to execute processes via a machine.

A compiler translates source code into object code, which is stored in object files. Object files contain object code that includes instructions to be executed by the computer. It should be noted that object files may require some intermediate processing by the operating system (OS) before the instructions contained in them are actually executed by the hardware.

Object file examples include common object file format (COFF), COM files and “.exe” files.


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Margaret Rouse

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…