GENERAL: Intel HEX File Format
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What is the Intel HEX file format?
The Intel HEX file is an ASCII text file with lines of text that follow the Intel HEX file format. Each line in an Intel HEX file contains one HEX record. These records are made up of hexadecimal numbers that represent machine language code and/or constant data. Intel HEX files are often used to transfer the program and data that would be stored in a ROM or EPROM. Most EPROM programmers or emulators can use Intel HEX files.
An Intel HEX file is composed of any number of HEX records. Each record is made up of five fields that are arranged in the following format:
Each group of letters corresponds to a different field, and each letter represents a single hexadecimal digit. Each field is composed of at least two hexadecimal digits-which make up a byte-as described below:
The Intel HEX file is made up of any number of data records that are terminated with a carriage return and a linefeed. Data records appear as follows:
This record is decoded as follows:
Extended Linear Address Records (HEX386)
Extended linear address records are also known as 32-bit address records and HEX386 records. These records contain the upper 16 bits (bits 16-31) of the data address. The extended linear address record always has two data bytes and appears as follows:
When an extended linear address record is read, the extended linear address stored in the data field is saved and is applied to subsequent records read from the Intel HEX file. The linear address remains effective until changed by another extended address record.
The absolute-memory address of a data record is obtained by adding the address field in the record to the shifted address data from the extended linear address record. The following example illustrates this process..
Extended Segment Address Records (HEX86)
Extended segment address records-also known as HEX86 records-contain bits 4-19 of the data address segment. The extended segment address record always has two data bytes and appears as follows:
When an extended segment address record is read, the extended segment address stored in the data field is saved and is applied to subsequent records read from the Intel HEX file. The segment address remains effective until changed by another extended address record.
The absolute-memory address of a data record is obtained by adding the address field in the record to the shifted-address data from the extended segment address record. The following example illustrates this process.
Start Linear Address Records (MDK-ARM only)
Start linear address records specify the start address of the application. These records contain the full linear 32 bit address. The start linear address record always has four data bytes and appears as follows:
The Start Linear Address specifies the address of the __main (pre-main) function but not the address of the startup code which usually calls __main after calling SystemInit(). An odd linear start address specifies that __main is compiled for the Thumb instruction set.
The Start Linear Address Record can appear anywhere in hex file. In most cases this record can be ignored because it does not contain information which is needed to program flash memory.
End-of-File (EOF) Records
An Intel HEX file must end with an end-of-file (EOF) record. This record must have the value 01 in the record type field. An EOF record always appears as follows:
Example Intel HEX File
Following is an example of a complete Intel HEX file:
SEE ALSO FOR 8051
Last Reviewed: Thursday, February 25, 2021
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