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Definition: text based

Also called "character based," it refers to handling text and not graphics. Simple charts and illustrations may be drawn, but they are limited to a set of special characters that are strung together to make up lines and shades (see OEM font). DOS and Unix are inherently text-based operating systems, in contrast to Windows and the Mac, which are graphics based.

Text-Based Screens
Text-based computer screens display a fixed set of rows and columns, typically between 25 and 50 rows of 80 or more characters that are also fixed in size. In contrast, graphics-based screens provide a matrix of pixels that are entirely addressable, allowing for any font size or graphic object to be created.

Text-Based Documents
Text based also refers to documents that contain only text, such as program source code, batch files and HTML and XML pages. Text-based documents are readable in any text editor and most word processors. In contrast, machine language files, multimedia files and all database files (except text-based XML databases) contain binary codes that a text application cannot decipher. See ASCII file and XML.