Encoding is the process of converting data into another format. It may refer to encoding codes of characters (ASCII, UTF, OS, etc...), audio (mp3, wave, m4a, etc...) or video (avi, mp4, mkv, etc...). This tag should be use for any question related to the act of format conversion.

Encoding is the process of converting data into a format required for a number of information processing needs, including :

  • Program compiling and execution
  • Data transmission, storage and compression/decompression
  • Application data processing, such as file conversion

Encoding involves the use of a code to change original data into a form that can be used by an external process.

Encoding is also used to reduce the size of audio and video files. Each audio and video file format has a corresponding coder-decoder (codec) program that is used to code it into the appropriate format and then decodes for playback.

Encoding should not be confused with encryption, which hides content. Both techniques are used extensively in the networking, software programming, wireless communication and storage fields.