What Does Character Mean?

In computer science, a character is a display unit of information equivalent to one alphabetic letter or symbol. This relies on the general definition of a character as a single unit of written speech.


Character can also be abbreviated as “chr” or “char.”

Techopedia Explains Character

It is important to distinguish that a character in computer science is not equal to one bit of machine language. Instead, individual characters are represented by segments of compiled machine language. A universal system for characters has been developed called ASCII. Individual ASCII characters require one byte, or eight bits, of data storage.

The character also plays a critical role in computer programming, where it may be represented in code languages as “chr” or “char.” A character is one single unit of a text or character string, where the individual characters and the entire string are manipulated in various ways by code functions and displayed in object-oriented programming (OOP) through controls such as text boxes and drop-down lists. In other words, the character in computer programming is an essential category of variable or constant that is defined and dealt with in code.


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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…