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binary2ascii(1) General Commands Manual binary2ascii(1)

binary2ascii - Convert binary numbers to textual representation

binary2ascii [flags]

binary2ascii reads input consisting of binary numbers and converts them to their textual representation. Command line flags specify the type and size of the binary numbers and provide control over the format of the output. Unsigned integers may be written out in binary, octal, decimal, or hexadecimal. Signed integers may be written out only in binary or decimal. Floating point numbers may be written out only in decimal, either in standard or scientific notation. (If you want to examine the binary representation of floating point numbers, just treat the input as a sequence of unsigned characters.)

Long options may not be available on some systems.

Base for integer conversions: b(binary),d(ecimal), h(exadecimal), o(ctal), or 2,8,10, or 16.
Delimit the output as per the locale. This is the default on systems in which printf(3) supports delimitation. If delimitation is not enabled, floating point numbers will have a decimal point and no separation of groups, integers no delimiters at all. With this option, the decimal separator will be chosen according to the locale (which, for example, may make it a comma), and non-fractional digits will be grouped and separated according to the rules for the locale in force. For American English, this means groups of three digits separated by commas, whereas for German in Germany it means groups of three digits separated by periods.
Do not delimit the output as per the -d option.
Use exponential (scientific) notation.
print help message
add a linefeed after every 0x0A value if the size is char, short, int, or long, that is, the sizes that might represent a character.
Set the LC_NUMERIC facet of the locale to <locale>.
number of items to print per line.
byte offset at which to start.
the precision to use when printing floating point numbers.
print sizes of types on current machine and related information
set type and size of input
do not mark hexadecimal output with the prefix 0x.
be verbose.
print version information.
minimum field width.
print a summary of the exit status codes.
zero pad on left.
do not zero pad on left

The following are the possible input types. Note that some types may not be available on some machines.

d double

f float

q long double

sc signed char

ss signed short

si signed int

sl signed long

sq signed long long

uc unsigned char

us unsigned short

ui unsigned int

ul unsigned long

uq unsigned long long

The following values are returned on exit:

The input was successfully converted.

The user requested information such as the version number or usage synopsis and this has been provided.

An error resulted from a failure of the operating system such as an i/o error or inability to allocate storage.

The program was called with invalid or inconsistent command line flags.

This means that the input was ill-formed, that is that it could not be interpreted as a number of the required type. For example, if the input is 0x2A and a decimal value is called for, an INPUT ERROR will be returned since 0x2A is not a valid representation of a decimal integer.

Bill Poser (

GNU General Public License, version 3


July, 2010