Sometimes abbreviated as b, a bit is short for binary digit and is a single unit of information that can have a value of either 0 or 1 (off or on, false or true, low or high). Eight bits make a byte, as shown in the picture. So, if you had two bytes (word) it would be 16 bits (2 x 8=16) and 10 bytes would be 80 bits (10 x 8=80).
Bits in a computer
With early computer processors (e.g. 8088 and 80286) the processors were 16-bit processors, which means the processor were capable of working with 16-bit binary numbers (decimal number up to 65,535). Anything larger and the computer would need to break up the number into smaller pieces. Later processors where 32-bit, which are capable of up to 32-bit binary numbers (decimal number up to 4,294,967,295). Today's computers are 64-bit, which are capable of up to 64-bit binary numbers (decimal number over 18 quintillion).
Bits in color
When working with colors and trying to determine the amount of colors in a bit color depth, this can be calculated by 2 to the power of the bit color. In other words, an 8-bit color would be 2^8 = 256 colors.
What comes before a bit?
A bit is the smallest unit of computer measurement which means nothing comes before a bit.
What comes after a bit?
Bit vs. other data measurements
Below is a listing of byte values in comparison to other units of measurements.
|Bit in a Bit (b)||1|
|Bits in a Nibble (N)||4|
|Bits in a Byte (B)||8|
|Bits in a Kilobit (Kb)||1,000|
|Bits in a Kilobyte (KB)||8,000|
|Bits in a Kibibit (Kib)||1,024|
|Bits in a Kibibyte (KiB)||8,192|
|Bits in a Megabit (Mb)||1,000,000|
|Bits in a Megabyte (MB)||8,000,000|
|Bits in a Mebibit (Mib)||1,049,000|
|Bits in a Mebibyte (MiB)||8,389,000|
|Bits in a Gigabit (Gb)||1,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Gigabyte (GB)||8,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Gibibit (Gib)||1,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Gibibyte (GiB)||8,590,000,000|
|Bits in a Terabit (Tb)||1,000,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Terabyte (TB)||8,000,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Tebibit (Tib)||1,100,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Tebibyte (TiB)||8,796,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Petabit (Pb)||1,000,000,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Petabyte (PB)||8,000,000,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Pebibit (Pib)||1,126,000,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Pebibyte (PiB)||9,007,200,000,000,000|
|Bits in an Exabit (Eb)||1,000,000,000,000,000,000|
|Bits in an Exabyte (EB)||8,000,000,000,000,000,000|
|Bits in an Exbibit (Eib)||1,152,921,500,000,000,000|
|Bits in an Exbibyte (EiB)||9,223,372,040,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Zettabyte (ZB)||8,000,000,000,000,000,000,000|
|Bits in a Yottabyte (YB)||8,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000|