ASCII, pronounced "as-key," is an acronym that stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It refers to a text format that can be understood on virtually any computer platform, from IBM-compatible or Apple Macintosh PCs to room-sized mainframe computers. In simple terms, it is the most basic set of text characters, representing the alphabet (a b c), numbers (1 2 3), and punctuation marks (. , ; : ?). It does not support any type of text embellishment or formatting such as bold, italic, centering, underlining, larger sizes, etc., since these are handled in different ways by different programs and on different platforms. Thus, when you convert a word processing document to ASCII for the purposes of transferring it to another program or type of computer, all such "fanciness" will be lost, and only the basic text itself will remain. Certain DOS and Windows start-up files must be in ASCII format to be understood by your computer. The "Edit" program in DOS and the "Notepad" program in Windows create only ASCII text, which is why they have no provisions for such features as bold, italic, centering, etc.
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