Binary Format

What Does Binary Format Mean?

A binary format is a format in which file information is stored in the form of ones and zeros, or in some other binary (two-state) sequence. This type of format is often used for executable files and numeric information in computer programming and memory.


Techopedia Explains Binary Format

In a mathematical sense, binary converts multi-digit numbers or other information to a series of ones and zeros. Some might call this an on-off format, because each bit of data is either in one of two states. Collectively, these strings of ones and zeros (or on and off designations) can form much more sophisticated data sets.

Files that are in binary format can often be described as presented in machine language. Computers take those binary ones and zeros, and translate them into executable language or other kinds of code.

Other kinds of formats include text format, where individual characters are represented as their own digital codes, or hexadecimal format, in which a base-16 number system is used to represent integers or other data.


Related Terms

Latest Data Management Terms

Related Reading

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…