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EBCDIC to ASCII and ASCII to EBCDIC Conversion Charts

The two charts below show the default conversion tables used by Spectrum Writer, the 4GL Report Writer and File Format Utility for Mainframes. In these tables, non-printable characters (other than a few with standard special meanings) are translated to a question mark (?).

Note: If you need to translate some EBCDIC text right now, try our free online EBCDIC to ASCII text converter.

Tips on converting files from EBCDIC to ASCII
The main reason to convert an EBCDIC file (usually found on mainframes) to an ASCII file is so that the file can be used on a PC, a server, or some UNIX-based system. Keep these points in mind when converting mainframe files.

  • You may not need to write a conversion program at all, if your record contains all text data. Most mainframe-based file transfer programs have an option to automatically convert a file from EBCDIC to ASCII while performing the download.
  • Often, however, you will not want to convert the whole record. If the record contains any non-text fields (such as binary numeric fields, packed numeric fields, hex or packed date fields, or bit fields), the bytes in those fields cannot simply be "translated" from EBCDIC to ASCII. They must either be left "as is" (if the PC system can handle that type of data) or reformatted for use on the PC. If your records do contain such non-text data, then you can not use the file transfer program to perform the conversion.
  • In addition to converting text from EBCDIC to ASCII, any binary, packed or BCD numeric fields may need to be reformatted to text-type numeric fields for the PC.
  • You may also need to convert dates from packed, hex, or BCD values in the mainframe file to text-type date fields for the PC.
  • In addition to translating the data to ASCII, the data may be much easier to use on the PC if you delimit the fields with commas. Your PC program will probably also expect to see quotation marks around the character fields (especially if they contain embedded spaces or commas). The PC program may also require dates to have slashes in them, which dates in mainframe records usually do not have.

Did you know that Spectrum Writer, the 4GL Report Writer and File Format Utility for Mainframes, handles all of the above issues (and lots more) automatically. Spectrum Writer is available for z/OS and VSE mainframes. Its PC-formatting feature automatically creates comma delimited files ready for use on your PC, server, Oracle database, etc. Or, use Spectrum Writer to create custom fixed-format ASCII files.

Plus, Spectrum Writer lets you select exactly which records and which fields you want on the PC, so that you don't download unnecessary data. You can also sort, subtotal and summarize the data before downloading it. To learn more about Spectrum Writer, or to download a free 30-day trial, use the navigation buttons at the top left of this page to enter our main site.

Now, for the dedicated do-it-yourselfer, here are the default conversion charts that Spectrum Writer uses. Happy coding!

EBCDIC to ASCII Conversion Chart

ASCII to EBCDIC Conversion Chart

Looking for a way to use Mainframe data in a PC or other ASCII-based system?
ASCII to EBCDIC Conversion Chart
Spectrum Writer is the answer you're looking for!
Download your free 30-day trial today.

Spectrum Writer is the 4GL report writer and file-format utility for z/OS and VSE mainframes. Formatting mainframe data as comma delimited files is just one of the many things Spectrum Writer does to help you use mainframe data on your PC.

    Use Spectrum Writer to:
  • create brand-new custom reports in just minutes
  • mix data from flat files, VSAM files and DB2 tables
  • turn mainframe data into Web reports (HTML format)
  • convert mainframe data into export files (ASCII comma-delimited or fixed format) for use in:
    • database programs like Microsoft Access
    • spreadsheet programs like Excel and Lotus
    • e-mail attachments
    • Oracle databases
    • Unix Web servers
    • any other mainframe, mini, or PC application that requires a custom file format
  • convert packed, binary, BCD, COMP, COMP-3 data into normal ASCII characters
  • convert bits, flags and switches to ASCII fields
  • convert mainframe dates in any format (packed julian dates, eg.) into standard ASCII MM/DD/YYYY dates (or into other popular formats)
  • compute your own new fields
  • read more details about Spectrum Writer's ASCII creation features (including several actual examples)

  See for yourself why Spectrum Writer is already in use at over 300 mainframe shops worldwide. Read more about Spectrum Writer (and its pricing) right here. You can also download a free 30-day trial of this powerful EBCDIC to ASCII conversion utility.

Attention Mainframe Software Vendors! Spectrum Writer is the ideal choice for adding custom reporting and file export functions to your own product. Call about OEM, VAR and bundling opportunities.
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