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Short for double-byte character set, a character set that uses two-byte (16-bit) characters rather than one-byte (8-bit) characters. Some languages, such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, have writing schemes with many different characters that cannot be represented with single-byte codes such as ASCII and EBCDIC. In a single-byte character set, the possible number of binary combinations is 256; the number increases to 65,536 in a double byte character set.

DBCS characters must be used with hardware and software that support the double-byte format.

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