Updated: 11/06/2021 by Computer Hope

A character may refer to any of the following:

Letter A representing a character.

1. Sometimes abbreviated as char, a character is a single visual object used to represent text, numbers, or symbols.

For example, the letter "A" is a single character. With a computer, one character is one byte (8 bits). A computer can understand a character with ASCII, which defines each character as a number translated to binary. For example, the letter "A" is "65" in ASCII and "01000001" in binary.


An invalid character error may be encountered when a character is used that the program or operating system does not support. For example, you may get this error when trying to use a non-alphanumeric character or a character with an accent.


See the char definition for a full definition of the char programming term.

How to write a character on a computer

The most common method users use to create a character on a computer is with the keyboard. Smaller devices like smartphones without a physical keyboard use a virtual keyboard. It's also possible to input a character using voice recognition or OCR (optical character recognition) when scanning text.

Character in World of Warcraft

2. A character describes a sprite or 3-D model that takes on the role of a fictitious player in a computer game.

For example, while playing a game, you are considered a PC (player character) in that game. If you encounter a character not controlled by another human, it's known as an NPC (non-player character). The picture is an example of a character in the World of Warcraft game.

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