The American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or ASCII for short, was standardized in the USA and is used to encode letters and numbers in digital form for electronic storage and processing. This was originally done using binary numbers with seven digits (seven bits), making it possible to represent a total of 128 characters. The use of 8-bit numbers was later introduced, increasing the total to 256 characters. Unicode notation based on 16-bit numbers has been gaining increasing acceptance in recent years. It can be used to represent 65,536 different characters.