What Are Hexadecimal Numbers & Why Do We Use It?

So in this article, we will take a look at what Hexadecimal numbers are. But we wont stop just there. We will also learn why we need to use them. We will take a look at few examples of hexadecimal numbers to know it better.

So does that sound like something you want to know more about? Great! Then strap yourself to your seat and read along. Because you are in for a treat with a world of numbers!

So first thing first, let us answer the basic question we have.

What Are Hexadecimal Numbers?

So to answer this, we first need to ask ourselves what a decimal number is. Alright? Because the numbers we use in our daily lives are based on decimal number system. So looking at hexadecimal numbers after analyzing decimal number will be so much easier. Right?

Alright then.

Decimal numbers

They are the number system that has the digits 0 to 9. Right? But what do we do when we want to go beyond the number 9?

What Are Hexadecimal Numbers?
What Are Hexadecimal Numbers?

We use 2 digits to represent the next number. And these digits will now start with a 1 followed by another digit between 0 to 9.

So the next set of numbers will be 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 …… Correct? But what happens when we reach the number 19? We again start with our next number 2 and repeat the process again.

So it will now be 20, 21, 22, 23 ….

So what we see here is that we can only use digits between 0 to 9. But they can be grouped together in to multiple digits to count any number we want. Right?

Alright. I can now hear you asking me what does this have to do with Hexadecimal number?

Well this concept is very much related to hexadecimal numbers as well. How, you ask? Let me explain!

Hexadecimal Numbers

So just like we have digits between 0 to 9 for decimal, we use digits between 0 to F in hexadecimal system!

What? So how does the digits look like? They look like below:

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E & F

These are the digits we use in a hexadecimal number system!

So as you can see, the numbers between 0 & 9 are the same as decimal system. However after that, 10 is represented by A. 11 by B, 12 by C and so on. This goes on until the letter F which is used to represent the number 15.

So in hexadecimal system, we have symbols to count from 0 to 15!

Why Do We Use Hexadecimal System?

Now that we know what hexadecimal system is, let us learn why we need it.

If you take a look at a computer, we know that it works in binary right? So the only numbers it can understand is 1s & 0s. Because of this, a large number like 10 is represented in binary as 1010b right?

But as you can see, it is not so readable. Correct? So there is a very good chance that we can read or write a binary number wrong! So to avoid that, we use hexadecimal numbers when working with computers!

Hexadecimal Number Examples

Decimal NumberHexadecimal Number

Example Of Hexadecimal Numbers

So you can see few examples of hexadecimal numbers in the above table. Right? But did you notice something? We have prefixed hexadecimal numbers with “0x”. Why? Because that is a convention that will tell anyone to treat it as a hexadecimal number!


What Is A System?

A system can be anything that has these 3 basic components built into it:

  • One or more number of Inputs
  • One or more number of Outputs
  • A process working on input to produce the output

So conceptually, we can can draw a system using the following block diagram:

A generic system that takes in input, processes it and produces an output.
A generic system that takes in input, processes it and produces an output.

But not all produced output by a system will be useful. Because many times, the output consists of both useful component along with additional side-effect components that may or may not be useful.

I know you may be confused at this point. But it will become very clear when we look at a system using an example.

So, the best example of a system can be an automobile like a car.

So if you look at a car, you will see that it takes in gasoline as its input and processes it to produce output in the form of movement. But giving us transportation is not the only thing a car does. Because, as a result of burning fuel, it also expels pollutants like smoke, heat etc. along with movement.

So in the case of a car we can say that – Gasoline is the input, engine is the system that processes the gasoline to produce output in the form our desired outcome – movement. But along with it, it also produces unwanted output such as smoke, heat, noise etc.

But it is not just an automobile that can be termed as a system. Because almost everything that we humans have built so far are all systems that takes in certain input and produces certain output.

So what other examples can you think of that is a system? I want you to think about it for some time to try and answer this question. Once you have thought enough, look at the next paragraph to see if you had anything matching to this list.

Here are a few examples of a system:

  • Computers
  • Electrical Stove
  • Fan
  • Heater
  • Aeroplanes
  • Trains etc.

So that is all there is to a system. I hope this made it clear for you. But if you still have some doubts regarding it, do let me know in the comment section below and I will be happy to answer!