Difference Between Encoding and Decoding (With Table)

Communication is the basis of interaction between all living beings. Whether it is humans, animals or birds, everyone communicates with their fellow beings through various mediums. Communication needs a sender and a receiver for its process to be complete. The sender is the one who starts the conversation or sends the message or signal. The receiver is the one who receives it. This completes the purpose of communication.

Encoding vs Decoding

The difference between Encoding and Decoding is that Encoding is referred to as the sender creating a message in a certain format to make it readable by the receiver, whereas, Decoding is referred to as the interpretation of the encoded message by the receiver. Both encoding and decoding can either be verbal or non-verbal based on the purpose of the conversation.

Encoding is the process in which a message is created or formed for communication. The sender is the encoder who creates the message. Encoding can be either verbal, i.e. through words, signs, photos, videos or, non-verbal, i.e. through body language, facial expressions, eye contact etc. The message is then passed on to the receiver, who then decodes it.

On the other hand, Decoding is the process in which the encoded message is interpreted or understood to fulfil the purpose of communication. The receiver is the decoder who translates the coded message into an understandable form. Decoding depends on the type of message that is being sent. It can be either verbal or non-verbal, depending on the encoded message.

Comparison Table Between Encoding and Decoding

Parameters of Comparison Encoding Decoding
DefinitionEncoding is referred to as creating or coding a message in an understandable form. Decoding is referred to as interpreting the coded message.
Input The applied signal or message is the input. Coded binary data is the input.
Output The generated data in the coded form is the output. The message in understandable form is the output.
Usage It is utilized in Emails, videos etc. It is utilized in microprocessors, memory cards etc.
Installation The encoder (sender or any software) used is installed at the transmitting end. The decoder or receiver is there at the receiving end.
ComplexityIt is a simpler process. It is complex as it involves the interpretation of the codes.

What is Encoding?

Encoding is defined as the creation and conversion of a message or information into coded form. Coding is a program that facilitates a particular piece of information to be in a format issued by certain protocols. Every type of information has a certain type of codes created for it. All of this work is done by the encoder. An encoder either can be a person who sends the message or a trained system.

Coding and system are interrelated with one another. Encoding is shaped or structured by the encoder, which creates and puts the message in such a way that it is understandable by the reader or receiver. Then the message is interpreted by the receiver based on his level of understanding.

Without the encoder or source, communication will not be possible. Therefore, the encoder is an important element in a conversation. However, having an encoder is not enough. The encoder needs to form the message simply and understandably so that the receiver gets it easily.

Encoding can be verbal or non-verbal, depending on the requirement of the conversation. It is used in emails, videos or images etc. The encoder works at the transmitting end and helps create the message in coded form. Then, the coded message is generated as output for the decoder to interpret it.

What is Decoding?

Decoding is defined as the understanding and interpretation of the message formed by the encoder. This process is carried out by a decoder, i.e. either a person or any system that converts the coded message into a simpler form and interprets it. This completes the purpose of communication, i.e. both sender and receiver get the message.

Decoding becomes successful when the receiver understands the message easily. As a result of this, the receiver is able to convey a reply or another message to the sender. But this would not be possible if the message gets decoded wrongly or is misunderstood. This is why successful decoding is important.

When the message reaches the receiver, it should be in a clear, appropriate and meaningful format so that there is no misconception about the intention and purpose of the message. Whether the message is conveyed to a single person or a group of people, decoding makes it understandable.

Decoding is either verbal or non-verbal, depending on the type of message the encoder sends. It is mostly used in microprocessors and memory cards. The decoder works at the receiving end of the communication. It is the job of the decoder to make sure that the coded message is interpreted correctly.

Main Differences Between Encoding and Decoding

  1. Encoding is known as the creation of the message, while decoding is known as the interpretation of the message.
  2. The input of encoding is the applied message, whereas the input of decoding is the binary data.
  3. Coded data is the output of encoding, while the decoded message is the output of decoding.
  4. Decoding is more complex as compared to encoding.
  5. Encoding is utilized in emails, videos etc. and decoding is utilized in microprocessors, memory cards etc.
  6. The encoder works at the transmitting end, while the decoder works at the receiving end of the communication.


Communication is an important aspect of day to day life. Living organisms cannot survive without interaction. For a conversation to be carried out, two elements are essential; the sender and the receiver. The sender sends the message, and the receiver interprets it.

In order to make the message or signal readable and understandable by the receiver, encoding and decoding are done. The sender encodes the message, and the receiver decodes it. This is how a conversation is said to be complete.

Both verbal, as well as non-verbal conversations involve encoding and decoding. These processes increase the chance of understanding the message more easily.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959438818301004
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1976-07180-001
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