Using Extended ASCII Characters (Not Found on Keyboard) (83275)

The information in this article applies to:
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0a
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.2
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.21
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.22

This article was previously published under Q83275


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 decimal equivalent.
    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 632-637.

"Microsoft MS-DOS User's Guide," version 6.0 and 6.2, pages 269-276.

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 5/10/2003
Keywords: KB83275