Byte

Updated: 12/31/2022 by Computer Hope

Byte may refer to any of the following:

Computer bit and byte

1. A byte is a term first coined by Werner Buchholz in 1956 and became more of a standard thanks to Bob Bemer and others. A byte is a unit of memory data equal to either seven or eight bits, depending on whether or not it needs error correction (parity). You can think of a byte as one letter. For example, the letter 'h' is one byte or eight bits, and the word 'hope' is four bytes or 32 bits (4*8).

When looking at the size of a file, a byte is the smallest measurement size listed in operating systems. However, most users see small files listed in kilobytes because most files are bigger than 1,024 bytes (one kilobyte).

Tip

A byte is spelled as "byte" and never as "bite."

How large is a byte?

The size of a byte depends on the computer hardware. Usually, it's eight bits. However, the size of a byte is not defined by any standard.

Assuming you used the de facto standard of eight bits in one byte, you could calculate the bits of a document by multiplying its byte size by eight. For example, if you had a 1,432 bytes text document, you'd use: 1,432 * 8 to get 11,456 bits.

Characters in a binary byte

An 8-bit byte can represent 256 individual characters. See our ASCII page for an example of 256 characters and their associated binary values.

What unit comes before a byte?

A nibble (typically four bits) comes before a byte.

What unit comes after a byte?

A kilobyte and kilobit come after a byte.

Converting bytes to another unit of data

Below is a listing of byte values compared to other units of measurement. Using this chart, you can find how many bytes are in other measurements. For example, you can see 1,000 bytes in a kilobyte. For measurements that are smaller than a byte, the decimal value is shown.

Byte (B) Value
Byte in a Bit (b) 0.125
Byte in a Nibble (N) 0.5
Byte in a Byte (B) 1
Bytes in a Kilobit (Kb) 125
Bytes in a Kilobyte (KB) 1,000
Bytes in a Kibibit (Kib) 128
Bytes in a Kibibyte (KiB) 1,024
Bytes in a Megabit (Mb) 131,072
Bytes in a Megabyte (MB) 1,000,000
Bytes in a Mebibit (Mib) 131,072
Bytes in a Mebibyte (MiB) 1,048,576
Bytes in a Gigabit (Gb) 125,000,000
Bytes in a Gigabyte (GB) 1,000,000,000
Bytes in a Gibibit (Gib) 134,200,000
Bytes in a Gibibyte (GiB) 1,073,741,824
Bytes in a Terabit (Tb) 125,000,000,000
Bytes in a Terabyte (TB) 1,000,000,000,000
Bytes in a Tebibit (Tib) 1,099,511,627,776
Bytes in a Tebibyte (TiB) 1,099,511,627,776
Bytes in a Petabit (Pb) 125,000,000,000,000
Bytes in a Petabyte (PB) 1,000,000,000,000,000,000
Bytes in a Pebibit (Pib) 140,700,000,000,000
Bytes in a Pebibyte (PiB) 1,000,000,000,000,000
Bytes in an Exabit (Eb) 125,000,000,000,000,000
Bytes in an Exabyte (EB) 1,152,921,504,606,846,976
Bytes in an Exbibit (Eib) 144,115,188,000,000,000
Bytes in an Exbibyte (EiB) 1,152,921,504,606,846,976
Bytes in a Zettabyte (ZB) 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Bytes in a Yottabyte (YB) 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
BYTE magazine cover

2. BYTE was a niche computer magazine published from 1975 to 1998. Branding itself as "the small systems journal," it focused on microcomputers and related software. After the magazine ended, it returned as a website from 1999 to 2009 and from 2011 to 2013.

BIT, Hard drive terms, Measurement, Most significant byte, Nibble, Storage device, Triplet, Word