Although many people may look at a set of zero’s and ones and say “How could anyone know what this means?” I am here to tell you that it is not very hard to read binary. Each binary “number” is a byte, which traditionally contains 8 bits or zeros and ones. A byte can only hold 256 values. (0 – 255) The first step in reading binary is to divide the zeros and ones into groups of eight digits, also known as octets. Despite the seemingly complex syntax binary conversion is fairly straight forward.

## Binary Conversion Layout

Now let us take a group or octet of binary, 10011011, and transform it to decimal numbers so that it is more easily readable. To do this, first make a chart that looks like this.

1 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 1 |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

128 | 64 | 32 | 16 | 8 | 4 | 2 | 1 |

## Add it Up

Next, place a zero or one in each column. If a column has a one then get the decimal numbers and add them together. In this case it is, 128 + 16 + 8 + 2 + 1. This turns out to equal 155. That is all there is to reading binary.