The ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
character set used by MS-DOS contains 256 characters. Many of these
characters are not located on the computer keyboard; however, you can
enter these characters by using a different code page.
The ASCII character set consists of 256 codes or characters. The first
128 codes represent the alphabet, numbers, punctuation, and control
characters. The other 128 codes are extended characters, and include
European characters, graphics, and scientific characters. These
extended characters are not represented on the keyboard.
To enter an ASCII character that is not represented on the keyboard,
do the following:
- At the command prompt, type:
(Where [drive] specifies the drive where MS-DOS is installed, and
[path] specifies the directory where MS-DOS is installed.)
- The active code page is returned. See the Microsoft MS-DOS
User's Guide" for version 5.0, 6.0, or 6.2 to find the Code
Page Table for the returned code page.
- Locate the character in the code page table to be displayed. The
character has a corresponding integer value that represents its
- At the command prompt, hold down the ALT key while typing the
character's decimal equivalent on the numeric keypad.
NOTE: You MUST use the number keys on the numeric keypad when
typing an extended character key combination.
MS-DOS versions 5.0, 6.0, and 6.2 reserve characters 0 through 31 for
control characters. These characters, except numbers 20 and 21, will
not be displayed when entered from the command prompt. Characters 32
through 127 are located on the keyboard, and characters 128 and above
are extended characters.
If the above process does not enable the display of extended ASCII
characters in an MS-DOS based application, contact your hardware
manufacturer to ensure that support for these characters is provided.
"Microsoft MS-DOS User's Guide and Reference," version 5.0, page
"Microsoft MS-DOS User's Guide," version 6.0 and 6.2, pages 269-276.
Article ID: 83275 - Last Review: May 10, 2003 - Revision: 2.0
- Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0 Standard Edition
- Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0a
- Microsoft MS-DOS 6.0 Standard Edition
- Microsoft MS-DOS 6.2 Standard Edition
- Microsoft MS-DOS 6.21 Standard Edition
- Microsoft MS-DOS 6.22 Standard Edition
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.