ISO 646

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(Redirected from NS 4551-1)

ISO 646 is an ISO standard that specifies a 7 bit character code from which several national standards are derived, the best known of which is ASCII. Since the portion of ISO 646 shared by all countries specified only the letters used in the English alphabet, other countries using the Latin alphabet with extensions needed to create national variants of ISO 646 to be able to use their native languages. Since universal acceptance of the 8 bit byte did not exist at that time, the national characters had to be made fit within the constraints of 7 bits, meaning that some characters that appear in ASCII do not appear in other national variants of ISO 646.


Some national variants of ISO 646 are:

Code National standard Country
CA CSA Z243.4 Canada
CN GB/T 1988 People's Republic of China
DE DIN 66003 Germany
DK DS 2089 Denmark
GB BS 4730 Great Britain
HU MSZ 7795.3 Hungary
JP JIS X0201 Japan
MT   Malta
NO NS 4551-1 Norway
SE SEN 850200_B Sweden
US ANSI X3.4 United States
YU JUS I.B1.002 former Yugoslavia

The specifics of the changes for some of these variants are given in this table:

Binary Decimal Hex ASCII DE DK/NO GB HU JP MT SE YU
0010 0011 35 23 # # # £ # # # # #
0010 0100 36 24 $ $ $ $ $ $ $
0100 0000 64 40 @ @ @ @ @ @ Ž
0101 1011 91 5B [ [ [ ġ Š
0101 1100 92 5C \ \ ¥ ż Đ
0101 1101 93 5D ] ] ] ħ Ć
0101 1110 94 5E ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ Č
0110 0000 96 60 ` ` ` ` ` ċ ` ž
0111 1011 123 7B { { { Ġ š
0111 1100 124 7C | | | Ż đ
0111 1101 125 7D } } } Ħ ć
0111 1110 126 7E ~ ~ ~ ˝ Ċ ~ č

Later, when 8 bit characters sets gained more acceptance, ISO 8859-1, ISO 8859-2, and ISO 8859-3 became the preferred method of coding most of these variants.

Variants of ASCII that are not ISO 646

There are also some 7-bit character sets that are not officially part of the ISO 646 standard. Examples include:

  • 7-bit Greek, ELOT 927. The Greek alphabet is mapped to positions 0x61-0x71 and 0x73-0x79, on top of the Latin lowercase letters. This mapping with the high bit set is ISO 8859-7.
  • 7-bit Cyrillic, KOI-7 or Short KOI. The Cyrillic characters are mapped to positions 0x60-0x7E, on top of the Latin lowercase letters. Superseded by the KOI-8 variants.
  • 7-bit Hebrew, SI 960. The Hebrew alphabet is mapped to positions 0x60-0x7A, on top of the lowercase Latin letters (and grave accent for aleph). This mapping with the high bit set, i.e. with the Hebrew letters in 0xE0-0xFA, is ISO 8859-8.
  • 7-bit Arabic, ASMO 449. The Arabic alphabet is mapped to positions 0x41-0x5A and 0x60-0x6A, on top of both uppercase and lowercase Latin letters. This mapping with the high bit set is ISO 8859-6.

External links

fr:ISO 646

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