I need a GUI application that shows the binary representation of text, using binary numbers, not hexadecimal numbers. Any suggestions?

For example, the program should convert the text Hi to 1001000 1101001.

I would prefer a graphical application to a command-line utility.


4 Answers 4


You could try ppt from the bsdgames package. It will output ASCII as a binary punchcard.

You could also use a python script:

$ python -c 'for char in "Hello, world!": print(bin(ord(char)))'
  • Which one did you use, ppt, or python?
    – kzh
    Dec 7, 2010 at 15:19
  • Actually, a friend on this site is writing a wonderful application in python ^^
    – RolandiXor
    Dec 7, 2010 at 15:25
  • +1 ppt is | oo .oo || ooo .o o|| oo o.oo || oo o.oo || oooo. o| ... The whole bsdgames package is a real blast from the past :
    – Peter.O
    May 23, 2011 at 17:52
  • 1
    I have way more fun with the bsdgames package than from modern games like King's Quest or Zork.
    – Henrique
    Oct 25, 2019 at 20:44

After further consideration and removing my first answer, I now note that you don't want to see the readable text in a binary (e.g. with the strings utility), but see text in binary form.

So, I think the KDE utility, okteta is just what you want, and it is available in the repositories and can be installed with

sudo apt-get install okteta

It allows you to view text files in binary form (see the second screenshot below), and you can click the tab at the bottom of the page to switch between binary form, hexadecimal, decimal, and octal. You can even create a new file and start entering text and, if you have the binary mode selected, the characters typed will be shown in binary, just like in the online converter you linked to. The screenshot directly below shows an example of this:

enter image description here

This application does exactly what you have specified in the question, and it is a gui as well, so that seems to tick all the boxes.

Okteta seems to be the most fully featured editor available, and there are also modules and plugins that give additional functionality.

enter image description here

  • Amazing, stellar answer. Now I wish I had awarded a bounty.
    – RolandiXor
    Dec 28, 2012 at 20:13

I was wondering if od had the option to output as binary (vs. in hex with od -t x1z). Unfortunately not, but a good alternative is xxd found at U&L:

echo 'Hello, world!' | xxd -b
0000000: 01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00101100  Hello,
0000006: 00100000 01110111 01101111 01110010 01101100 01100100   world
000000c: 00100001 00001010                                      !.

GHex - a hex editor for GNOME

GHex allows the user to load data from any file, view and edit it in either hex or ascii.

Useful for debugging problems with object code or encodings.

Install via the software center ghex Install ghex

enter image description here

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