Plain text

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With plain text ( Engl. For simple text ) in the computer area, data are referred to, the human readable and are therefore directly using characters ( character encoding ) can be converted to text.

An example of this are the Windows INI files .

In addition, this text represents the actual information, i.e. in order to understand the data, knowledge and evaluation of a special notation is usually not necessary. A good example of this is the PLS playlist format . An example of an exception is the playlist format M3U , in which the number can only be understood if you know that it stands for "seconds". An example of the opposite of the former is the Extensible Markup Language (XML).

The type intended for plain text in the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is . text/plain

As for text files , different character encodings are used for plain text (e.g. ASCII , Latin-1 or UTF-8 , for more see text file ).

The term “plain text” excludes further formats and standards, such as .doc or HTML . A maximum of CSV data could still fall under plain text , but strictly speaking, they are not.

In contrast to the term “text file”, the designation is not necessarily limited to file contents, but refers to the data format itself, for example also for data transmission in connection with network protocols .

The term plaintext (in this case usually written together, English for plain text ) is also used in connection with cryptography ("unencrypted text"), while cleartext usually refers to a lack of security against eavesdropping . In German, both terms are translated with plain text .

Individual evidence

  1. Philipp Rieber: Dynamic websites in practice: With PHP 5, MySQL 5, XHTML, CSS, JavaScript and AJAX. mitp / bhv, Heidelberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-8266-8430-2 , p. 647.


  • Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions . Part Two: Media Types . Network Working Group, 1996, RFC 2046 , Section 3 No. 1, p. 3.