Code Pages

When you display or print a document, you see a collection of characters or symbols. A group of characters or symbols taken together and treated as a single entity is called a character set. A character set may contain hundreds or even thousands of characters.

In a single-byte character set (SBCS), a single octet (8-bit byte) is used to represent a single character. This means there are only 256 possible bit-patterns or code points available to represent a character.

The collection of all 256 code points and the corresponding individual character assignments are called a code page. There can be more than one code page for a character set. For example, the set of symbols we use in the United States is different than those used in Sweden. Yes, there are common characters (latin alphabet, numerals, and some "specials"), but there are a lot of differences too. Sometimes the same symbol is used but is assigned a different code point, perhaps because different languages sort the character differently in their alphabet.

The code pages used with a VM system have traditionally been one of the following:

  • 037 US/Canada
  • 273 Austria/Germany
  • 277 Denmark/Norway
  • 278 Finland/Sweden
  • 280 Italy
  • 284 Spain/Spanish Latin America
  • 285 UK
  • 297 France
  • 500 International
  • 871 Iceland

For S/390 products, many of the above code pages are being renamed and changed slightly to accommodate the euro currency symbol. Each new (renamed) code page will be exactly like its original code page, except the meaning of one code point will change. The code point for the international currency symbol on the original code page will be interpreted as the euro on the new code page. For example, code page 500 will be renamed to code page 1148. 1148 will be exactly like 500, except code point 0x9F (the international currency symbol on code page 500) will be the euro on code page 1148.

VM still sends a 0x9F in the datastream to the display. It is then up to the display control unit or emulator to determine what character to display for code point 0x9F.

The following table shows each euro-ready code page number along with its matching traditional code page number:

Euro-ready Traditional Description
858850 IBM-PC
1140037 US/Canada
1141273 Austria/Germany
1142277 Denmark/Norway
1143278 Finland/Sweden
1144280 Italy
1145284 Spain/Spanish Latin America
1146285 UK
1147297 France
1148500 International
1149871 Iceland

More information at: