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ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is a standard that all computers can understand. It contain 128 characters but 33 of these are non-printing and mostly obsolete control character that affect how text is processed. All 95 other characters correspond to a number.
ASCII start as a standard in 1967 and was later updated in 1986. There is also extended tables but no one of these is a real standard. It depend of your computer.
The utility of ASCII is when you don't know where to find a character on your keyboard. You just have to press the ALT key, hold it down and type the decimal number on the numeric keypad.
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