BinHex encoding

December 2016

BinHex encoding

BinHex encoding (a contraction of binary-to-hexadecimal) is a proprietary algorithm owned by Apple for converting 8-bit binary data into a 7-bit format. BinHex encoding, designed for Macintosh systems, is used to preserve file attributes, and incorporates an error-checking routine (CRC).

With BinHex, it is possible to transfer a binary file (such as an image, video, office document, or application) from one system to another, over any sort of network (especially via email), without any risk of deterioration.

However, in order to be usable, the file must first be decoded.

Format of a BinHex file

A BinHex file usually has the extension .HQX, but sometimes it has no extension at all. In this case, the file includes the following line, which is readable in any word processing program:

(This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0)
or
(This file must be converted with BinHex 5.0)

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