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How do I convert an integer to binary in JavaScript?

I’d like to see integers, positive or negative, in binary.

Rather like this question, but for JavaScript.


A solution i’d go with that’s fine for 32-bits, is the code the end of this answer, which is from, but with some lines added for A)formatting and B)checking that the number is in range.

Some suggested x.toString(2) which doesn’t work for negatives, it just sticks a minus sign in there for them, which is no good.

Fernando mentioned a simple solution of (x>>>0).toString(2); which is fine for negatives, but has a slight issue when x is positive. It has the output starting with 1, which for positive numbers isn’t proper 2s complement.

Anybody that doesn’t understand the fact of positive numbers starting with 0 and negative numbers with 1, in 2s complement, could check this SO QnA on 2s complement. What is “2’s Complement”?

A solution could involve prepending a 0 for positive numbers, which I did in an earlier revision of this answer. And one could accept sometimes having a 33bit number, or one could make sure that the number to convert is within range -(2^31)<=x<2^31-1. So the number is always 32bits. But rather than do that, you can go with this solution on

Patrick’s answer and code is long and apparently works for 64-bit, but had a bug that a commenter found, and the commenter fixed patrick’s bug, but patrick has some “magic number” in his code that he didn’t comment about and has forgotten about and patrick no longer fully understands his own code / why it works.

Annan had some incorrect and unclear terminology but mentioned a solution by This works for 32-bit numbers.

The code is pretty compact, a function of three lines.

But I have added a regex to format the output in groups of 8 bits. Based on How to print a number with commas as thousands separators in JavaScript (I just amended it from grouping it in 3s right to left and adding commas, to grouping in 8s right to left, and adding spaces)

And, while mozilla made a comment about the size of nMask(the number fed in)..that it has to be in range, they didn’t test for or throw an error when the number is out of range, so i’ve added that.

I’m not sure why they named their parameter ‘nMask’ but i’ll leave that as is.


function createBinaryString(nMask) {
  // nMask must be between -2147483648 and 2147483647
  if (nMask > 2**31-1)
     throw "number too large. number shouldn't be > 2**31-1"; //added
  if (nMask < -1*(2**31))
     throw "number too far negative, number shouldn't be < 2**31" //added
  for (var nFlag = 0, nShifted = nMask, sMask = ''; nFlag < 32;
       nFlag++, sMask += String(nShifted >>> 31), nShifted <<= 1);
  sMask=sMask.replace(/B(?=(.{8})+(?!.))/g, " ") // added
  return sMask;
console.log(createBinaryString(-1))    // "11111111 11111111 11111111 11111111"
console.log(createBinaryString(1024))  // "00000000 00000000 00000100 00000000"
console.log(createBinaryString(-2))    // "11111111 11111111 11111111 11111110"
console.log(createBinaryString(-1024)) // "11111111 11111111 11111100 00000000"