ANSI Character Set

What Does ANSI Character Set Mean?

The ANSI character set is a set of standardized characters developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a volunteer organization dating back to the early 1900s. ANSI character sets have been evolved to create consistent standards across the computing industry.


The ANSI character set is also known as Windows-1252.

Techopedia Explains ANSI Character Set

The ANSI character set was the standard set of characters used in Windows operating systems through Windows 95 and Windows NT, after which Unicode was adopted. ANSI consists of 218 characters, many of which share the same numerical codes as in the ASCII/Unicode formats.

Central to the idea of creating a curated character set is that standards makers need to judge which types of linguistic and international characters should be included in the set. For example, standards committees may judge whether or not a certain character could be effectively rendered by other characters, in which case it may not be included. Creating standardized sets of characters such as an ANSI character set allows for more consistency and efficiency in the delivery of services, cross-platform development, and programming.


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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…