C++ Program to Print the ASCII Value of a Character

01/04/2024 0 By indiafreenotes

In the World of computer programming, especially when dealing with C++, understanding the representation of data is crucial. One fundamental concept in this context is the ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) system, a character encoding standard used for representing text in computers and other devices. Every character on your keyboard, from letters to digits to symbols, is mapped to a numerical value according to the ASCII standard.

Printing the ASCII value of a character is a straightforward task in C++, yet it encapsulates important programming principles and concepts. From data representation and character encoding to type conversion and input validation, this program touches upon various facets of programming that are foundational to computer science. By starting with such basic programs and gradually moving to more complex ones, one can build a solid understanding of programming languages like C++ and the principles of computer science that underpin them, paving the way for creating more complex and robust software solutions.


Below is a simple yet effective C++ program that reads a character input from the user and prints its ASCII value:

#include <iostream>

int main() {

    char inputChar;

    std::cout << “Enter a character: “;

    std::cin >> inputChar;

    // Casting the character to an int to display its ASCII value

    std::cout << “The ASCII value of ‘” << inputChar << “‘ is ” << static_cast<int>(inputChar) << std::endl;

    return 0;



Dissecting the Program

  • Header Inclusion:

The program begins with including the <iostream> header, which facilitates input and output operations.

  • Main Function:

The execution entry point of the program.

  • Character Input:

The program prompts the user to enter a character. It uses std::cin to read this character and stores it in a variable of type char.

  • Printing the ASCII Value:

To display the ASCII value of the input character, the program casts the char variable to an int. This is because, in C++, characters are internally stored as numbers according to the ASCII table. The static_cast<int> is used for casting, which is a safer option compared to the old C-style casting. Finally, it prints the character and its ASCII value using std::cout.

Understanding ASCII

ASCII is a character encoding standard that maps characters to integer values. For example, the ASCII value of ‘A’ is 65, and the ASCII value of ‘a’ is 97. It’s essential to understand that ASCII only defines 128 characters: 33 non-printable control characters (which are not commonly used today) and 95 printable characters, including the space character, digits, punctuation symbols, and letters.

Significance of ASCII in Programming

  • String Manipulation:

Knowing ASCII values is particularly useful in string manipulation tasks. For instance, converting lowercase letters to uppercase (and vice versa) can be easily achieved by understanding and utilizing the difference in ASCII values between lowercase and uppercase letters.

  • Sorting Algorithms:

In sorting algorithms that involve strings, ASCII values play a crucial role. They help determine the lexicographical order of strings.

  • Data Storage and Compression:

ASCII values are foundational in data storage and compression techniques. Understanding the representation of characters allows for more efficient data processing and manipulation.

  • Security:

ASCII values find applications in cybersecurity, where they can be used in encryption and decryption algorithms to secure data.

Best Practices and Considerations

  • Use of static_cast:

It’s a good practice to use C++ style casts like static_cast for type conversions over C-style casts. This ensures more readable and safer code.

  • Character Validation:

When working with user input, always consider validating the input to ensure that the program behaves as expected even with unexpected or malicious input.

  • Beyond ASCII:

While ASCII is widely used and understood, it’s essential to note that it represents only a subset of characters. For a more comprehensive character set that includes non-English characters and symbols, Unicode and its encoding schemes like UTF-8 are used.

  • Understanding Data Types:

This simple program also serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding C++ data types and how they interact. The implicit and explicit conversion between types is a fundamental concept in C++.