How do I use punch cards?


Quick Answer

Punch cards are used to collect alphabetic and numeric data. The card is inserted into a keypunch machine that reads the data and then punches rectangular holes where the data is located. The rectangular holes are punched along the rows of the data. The cards are then read by a punch card reader. Computer programmers in the punch card era would use punch cards to record and program information.

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Full Answer

Punch cards were popular in the late 1960s and through the 1970s. IBM punch cards were commonly used by businesses and universities to record data. It was fast and convenient to use punch cards because they allowed data to be processed faster than humanly possible.

Three types of machines were used in punch card operations: a card punch, a sorter, and a punch card reader. Punch card machines were responsible for calculations and printing the information. They made collecting, calculating, and organizing information faster. The calculations of business data, such as sales and accounting information, was more accurate.

Punch cards helped businesses collect large amounts of data in a short time. They helped businesses compare and analyze sales and accounting figures on a large scale, as well as process reports and assess growing trends, budgets, inventory and profits.

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