teach-ict.com logo

THE education site for computer science and ICT

2. Denary and Binary

The two number systems we will discuss in this section are denary and binary.

The 'base' of a number system describes how many symbols (agreed shapes) there are in that system. Therefore 'denary' has ten, and 'binary' has two.

There are others as well, for example 'Hexadecimal' which has sixteen symbols.

Base 10 number system (denary)

In our everyday lives we use a 'Denary' number system which has the number symbols 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

This is called a 'base-10' number system, because there are ten symbols involved.

Here are some examples of denary numbers:

  • 5
  • 249
  • 316
  • 8715


Base 2 number system (binary)

You already know that computers need to use binary numbers to process data. All of the images and text you see on your monitor, all of the sounds that come out of the speakers, all of that data is stored on the computer as binary numbers.

Binary is a 'base-2' type of number which has only two symbols, and these are chosen to be 1 or a 0

Here are some examples of binary numbers:

  • 1
  • 101
  • 1101
  • 11011001

Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: What is base number system