ARG Tools - Text

!Unsorted Text Tools

ADFGVXA German cipher dating to WWI, ADFGVX is a fractionating transposition cipher which combined a modified Polybius square with a single columnar transposition.
AtbashA very simplistic cipher where you change A into Z, B into Y, and so on.
AutokeyA cipher which uses the plaintext as the key, possibly also with a keyword.
BaconianUsed to hide a message within another message, by using different typefaces or other distinguishing characteristics.
BifidBreaks information for each letter up and spreads it out in the encoded message. An easy and fairly secure pencil & paper cipher.
Book CipherA cipher composed by counting into a book until the desired word is found, and then noting its number. Variants may include page numbers.
FoursquareThe four-square cipher uses four 5 by 5 matrices arranged in a square. (Combining I and J and omitting Q.) Two squares are plaintext, and two are ciphered with a keyword. Digraphs of plain text are split between the plaintext squares and paired to the ciphered squares, then re-combined.
Letter NumbersReplace each letter with the number of its position in the alphabet.
One Time PadA virtually uncrackable cipher that relies heavily upon a random source for an encryption key.
SkipTo decode this, you count N characters, write down the letter, count forward N characters, write down the letter, etc. It is used for section 3 of the Kryptos.
Solitaire/PontifexUses a shuffled deck of cards as the key. Without the key, it's next to impossible to crack.

Caesar & ROTn

AffineSimilar to a Caesarian shift, but also adds in a multiplier to further scramble letters.
Caesarian ShiftWhere ROT13 was based on you adding 13 to the letters, a Caesar cipher lets you add an arbitrary value.
Keyed CaesarSimilar to a Caesar cipher, but you first alter the encoded alphabet with a word or phrase.
ROT13A popular method of hiding text so that only people who actually take the time to decode it can actually read it. You swap letters; A becomes N, and N becomes A. It was quite popular on bulletin board systems and Usenet newsgroups. You can do it with the cryptogram solver also, if you make A=N, B=O, C=P, etc.
ROTnA popular method of hiding text so that only people who actually take the time to decode it can actually read it. Includes options for numbers and extended ASCII. (ROT13, ROT18, ROT47)


DigraphA digraph cipher encrypts by substituting each digraph (i.e. pair of letters) in the message with a different digraph or symbol.
PlayfairThis cipher uses pairs of letters and a 5x5 grid to encode a message. It is fairly strong for a pencil and paper style code.


ASCII codesASCII includes definitions for 128 characters: 33 are non-printing control characters (many now obsolete) that affect how text and space is processed and 95 printable characters, including the space (which is considered an invisible graphic).
ASCII85/Base85Ascii85 (also called "Base85") is a form of binary-to-text encoding developed by Paul E. Rutter for the btoa utility. By using five ASCII characters to represent four bytes of binary data (encoded size 25% larger), it is more efficient than uuencode or Base64, which use four characters to represent three bytes of data (33% increase).
Base64This is typically used to make binary data safe to transport as strictly text.
BaudotThe Baudot code, named after its inventor Emile Baudot, is a character set predating EBCDIC and ASCII and used originally and primarily on teleprinters. Characters are expressed using five bits, in two code sub-sets, the "letter shift" (LTRS), and the "figure shift" (FIGS).
BinaryThe binary number system, or base-2 number system, represents numeric values using two symbols: 0 and 1. Text encoded to binary first converts to the ASCII character codes, which are then represented as binary numbers.
BinHexBinHex, short for "binary-to-hexadecimal", is a binary-to-text encoding system that was used on the Mac OS for sending binary files through e-mail. It is similar to Uuencode, but combined both "forks" of the Mac file system together, along with extended file information.
Hexadecimal/Base16Hexadecimal (also base 16, or hex) is a positional numeral system with a radix, or base, of 16. It uses sixteen distinct symbols, most often the symbols 0–9 to represent values zero to nine, and A-F to represent values ten to fifteen. Text encoded to hex first converts to the ASCII character codes, which are then represented as hexadecimal numbers.
Quoted-PrintableQuoted-printable, or QP encoding, is an encoding using printable characters (i.e. alphanumeric and the equals sign "=") to transmit 8-bit data over a 7-bit data path.
UUencodeUuencoding is a form of binary-to-text encoding that originated in the Unix program uuencode, for encoding binary data for transmission over the uucp mail system. The name "uuencoding" is derived from "Unix-to-Unix encoding".
XXencodeXXencode is an obsolete binary-to-text encoding similar to UUencode which uses only the alphanumeric characters, and the plus and minus signs. It was invented as a means to transfer files in a format which would survive character set translation. A simple test is checking if all lines (possible except the last one) begin with the 'h' character.
yEncyEnc is a binary-to-text encoding scheme for transferring binary files in messages on Usenet or via e-mail. It reduces the overhead over previous US-ASCII-based encoding methods by using an 8-bit Extended ASCII encoding method. An additional advantage of yEnc over previous encoding methods, such as uuencode and Base64, is the inclusion of a CRC checksum to verify that the decoded file has been delivered intact.

Substitution/Alternate Alphabets

BetamazeAn alphabet designed by American art student Terrana Cliff. All the letters connect together so they can form paths. Paths can branch, terminate, and come together. Path structure can be altered without having to alter spelling, word order, etc.
BrailleA writing system for the blind, composed of sets of 2x3 cells containing up to six raised dots, in patterns representing letters, numbers, or musical notation.
Kama-sutra CipherRandomly pairing letters of the alphabet, and then substituting each letter in the original message with its partner. Unlike the Monoalphabetic cipher, which enciphers all 26 letters separately, this cipher results in thirteen pairs.
Monoalphabetic CipherThe ciphers in this substitution replace each letter with another letter according to the cipher alphabet.
Morse CodeOnce used to transmit messages around the world, this system can still be used in certain situations to send messages effectively when alternate mediums are not available.
OghamThe ancient Irish writing system.
Phonetic AlphabetsAlphabets used by radio operators to spell out words. (Foxtrot uniform charlie kilo, et al.)
Pigpen/MasonicThe Pigpen Cipher was used by Freemasons in the 18th Century to keep their records private. The cipher does not substitute one letter for another; rather it substitutes each letter for a symbol.
RunicThe Scandinavian runic alphabet.
Substitution GeneratorSubstitute your plaintext letters with other letters, images, or codes. Includes two common pigpen ciphers and the Sherlock Holmes' Dancing Men cipher.


    Egyptian/CopticAncient Egyptian (hieroglyphic, demotic, hieratic) and Coptic language translation tools and dictionaries.
    Hobo GlyphsA collection of symbols used by American hobos, conveying a large amount of information in a small space.
    JapaneseDictionaries and translators for Japanese language texts.
    LatinLatin language translation tools and dictionaries.
    Multi-LanguageMulti-language translation tools. Tools and dictionaries for specific languages are listed separately.
    NavajoNavajo language translation tools and dictionaries.


    Columnar TranspositionWrite a message as a long column and then swap around the columns. Read the message going down the columns. A simple cypher, but one that is featured on the Kryptos sculpture at the CIA headquarters.
    Double TranspositionBecause two is better than one. Used by the U.S. Army during World War II.
    RailfenceA mildly complicated transposition cipher where you align letters on different rows and then squish the letters together in order to create your ciphertext.
    RotateThis acts as though you are writing the letters in a rectangular grid and then rotating the grid to the left or right 90°.
    RouteA Route Cipher is very similar to a Rail Fence cipher with one exception. You still write the message vertically in columns, but instead of reading off the secret message horizontally, you read it off using a predetermined pattern.
    ÜbchiA double columnar transposition cipher that uses the same key, but adds a number of pad characters. Used by the Germans in WWI.


    BeaufortThe Beaufort cipher, created by Sir Francis Beaufort, is a substitution cipher that is similar to the Vigenère cipher but uses a slightly modified enciphering mechanism and tableau. Its most famous application was in a rotor-based cipher machine, the Hagelin M-209.
    GronsfeldThis is identical to the Vigenère except that only 10 alphabets are used, and so the "keyword" is numerical.
    Keyed VigenèreThis modified cipher uses an alphabet that is out of order. Two keys are used. One creates the alphabet, the second is the encoding passphrase. This was created to help decrypt the Kryptos sculpture.
    VigenèreA special cipher somewhat based on the Caesarian shift, but you change the value of N with each letter and it is all based on a passphrase. A pretty strong cipher for beginners, and one that can be done on paper easily.
    Vigenère AutokeyInstead of repeating the password used in order to encrypt text, this uses the password once and then the plaintext. It is harder to break than if you were to just use the password to encrypt your message.