Microsoft KB Archive/38345

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Converting Control Code Characters

PSS ID Number: Q38345 Article last modified on 11-02-1994

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If a printer control code has a decimal value less than 32, it must be converted to a format that Word can recognize. To convert the code, do the following:

  1. Add 64 to the decimal value for the character.

  2. Look up the sum in an ASCII table and use that character. For example, ESC is a decimal 27, so add 64 to 27 (64+27=91), then use the character at decimal 91 ([) in its place. For example, the control character for ESC is as follows:

    ^[ (caret-left bracket)


If the control code to be sent to the printer has a value greater than 31, the code doesn’t need to be preceded with a caret.

However, if the control code is between 128 and 159, it must be converted to octal representation. The octal-control sequence starts with a caret followed by zero and the three-digit octal value for the character. To make an octal control-character sequence, do the following:

  1. Start with a ^0 (caret-zero).

  2. Follow the ^0 with the octal number and a space. For example, decimal 150 = Octal 226; therefore, you would send the following control code:


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