Updated: 07/18/2024 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 visual object representing 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 (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), 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 using 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.

What is a character count?

A character count is the number of characters a document or other file contains. Programs that contain statistics about a document or file often contain the word count, line count, character count, and other stats. If your program doesn't have this feature, copy and paste your text into our text tool to discover this information.

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 shows a character in the World of Warcraft game.

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