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Shift Out and Shift In characters

Shift Out (SO) and Shift In (SI) are control characters 14 and 15, respectively (0x0E and 0x0F). These are sometimes also called "Control-N" and "Control-O".

The original meaning of those characters provided a way to shift a coloured ribbon, split longitudinally usually with red and black, up and down to the other colour in an electro-mechanical or , such as the Teletype Model 38, to automate the same function of manual typewriters. Black was the conventional ambient default colour and so was shifted "in" or "out" with the other colour on the ribbon.

Later advancements in technology instigated use of this function for switching to a different or and back.  This was used, for instance, in the character set known as KOI7, where SO starts printing , and SI starts printing again. SO/SI control characters also are used to display VT-100 pseudographics, and (Japanese picture icons) on . ISO/IEC 2022 standard specifies their generalized usage.

See also
  • C0 and C1 control codes

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