How to convert a string representation of a hex dump to a byte array using Java?

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I am looking for a way to convert a long string (from a dump), that represents hex values into a byte array.

I couldn't have phrased it better than the person that posted the same question here.

But to keep it original, I'll phrase it my own way: suppose I have a string "00A0BF" that I would like interpreted as the

byte[] {0x00,0xA0,0xBf}

what should I do?

I am a Java novice and ended up using BigInteger and watching out for leading hex zeros. But I think it is ugly and I am sure I am missing something simple.

Sep 26, 2018 in Java by Sushmita
• 6,840 points

1 answer to this question.

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public static byte[] hexStringToByteArray(String s) {
    int len = s.length();
    byte[] data = new byte[len / 2];
    for (int i = 0; i < len; i += 2) {
        data[i / 2] = (byte) ((Character.digit(s.charAt(i), 16) << 4)
                             + Character.digit(s.charAt(i+1), 16));
    return data;

Reasons why it is an improvement:

  • Safe with leading zeros (unlike BigInteger) and with negative byte values (unlike Byte.parseByte)

  • Doesn't convert the String into a char[], or create StringBuilder and String objects for every single byte.

  • No library dependencies that may not be available

Feel free to add argument checking via assert or exceptions if the argument is not known to be safe.

answered Sep 26, 2018 by sharth
• 3,310 points

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