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base64 is a data encoding scheme whereby binary-encoded data is converted to printable ASCII characters. The only characters used are the upper- and lower-case Roman alphabet characters (A-Z, a-z), the numerals (0-9), and the "+" and "/" symbols, with the "=" symbol as a special suffix code. Full specifications for base64 are contained in RFC 1421 and RFC 2440. The scheme is defined only for data whose original length is a multiple of 8 bits, a requirement met by most computer file formats. The resultant base64-encoded data has a length that is approximately 33% greater than the original data, and typically appears as seemingly random characters.

For example, the Wikipedia slogan,

"Man is distinguished, not only by his reason, but by this singular passion from other animals, which is a lust of the mind, that by a perseverance of delight in the continued and indefatigable generation of knowledge, exceeds the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure."

encoded in base64 is as follows:


See also: Radix-64, ASCII Armor

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