How to reverse bits of a byte?

0 votes
asked Nov 6, 2009 by secret

Best in PHP,

for example,

11011111 ==> 11111011

8 Answers

0 votes
answered Nov 6, 2009 by roman-nikitchenko

Try to get this book, there is whole chapter about bits reversion: Hacker's Delight. But please check content first if this suits you.

0 votes
answered Nov 6, 2009 by epsilon-prime

The straight forward approach is to perform 8 masks, 8 rotates, and 7 additions:

$blah = $blah & 128 >> 7 + $blah & 64 >> 5 + $blah & 32 >> 3 + $blah & 16 >> 1 + $blah & 8 << 1 + $blah & 4 << 3 + $blah & 2 << 5 + $blah & 1 << 7;
0 votes
answered Nov 6, 2009 by mjv

The quickest way, but also the one requiring more space is a lookup, whereby each possible value of a byte (256 if you go for the whole range), is associated with its "reversed" equivalent.

If you only have a few such bytes to handle, bit-wise operators will do but that will be slower, maybe something like:

function reverseBits($in) {
  $out = 0;

  if ($in & 0x01) $out |= 0x80;
  if ($in & 0x02) $out |= 0x40;
  if ($in & 0x04) $out |= 0x20;
  if ($in & 0x08) $out |= 0x10;
  if ($in & 0x10) $out |= 0x08;
  if ($in & 0x20) $out |= 0x04;
  if ($in & 0x40) $out |= 0x02;
  if ($in & 0x80) $out |= 0x01;

  return $out;
0 votes
answered Nov 6, 2009 by konamiman

If you have already the bits in the form of a string, use strrev.

If not, convert first the byte to its binary representation by using decbin, then reverse using strrev, then go back to byte (if necessary) by using bindec.

0 votes
answered Nov 6, 2009 by paul-dixon

Check the section on reversing bit sequences in Bit Twiddling Hacks. Should be easy to adapt one of the techniques into PHP.

While probably not practical for PHP, there's a particularly fascinating one using 3 64bit operations:

unsigned char b; // reverse this (8-bit) byte
b = (b * 0x0202020202ULL & 0x010884422010ULL) % 1023;
0 votes
answered Nov 6, 2009 by tzenes

I disagree with using a look up table as (for larger integers) the amount of time necessary to load it into memory trumps processing performance.

I also use a bitwise masking approach for a O(logn) solution, which looks like:

MASK = onescompliment of 0    
while SIZE is greater than 0
  SIZE = SIZE shiftRight 1
  MASK = MASK xor (MASK shiftLeft SIZE)
  output = ((output shiftRight  SIZE) bitwiseAnd MASK) bitwiseOR ((onescompliment of MASK) bitwiseAnd (output shfitLeft SIZE))

The advantage of this approach is it handles the size of your integer as an argument

in php this might look like:

function bitrev($bitstring, $size){

  $mask = ~0;
  while ($size > 0){

    $size = $size >> 1;
    $mask = $mask ^ ($mask << $size);
    $bitstring = (($bitstring >> $size) & $mask) | ((~$mask) & ($bitstring << $size));

unless I screwed up my php somewhere :(

0 votes
answered Nov 6, 2009 by jeffery-williams

This is O(n) with the bit length. Just think of the input as a stack and write to the output stack.

My attempt at writing this in PHP.

function bitrev ($inBits, $bitlen){

   while ($count < $bitlen){
      $inBits=$inBits|($cloneBits & 0x1);

    return $inBits;
0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by fluorescentgreen5

Some people have been suggesting a lookup table, while I have been making one:

        0x00, 0x80, 0x40, 0xC0, 0x20, 0xA0, 0x60, 0xE0, 0x10, 0x90, 0x50, 0xD0, 0x30, 0xB0, 0x70, 0xF0,
        0x08, 0x88, 0x48, 0xC8, 0x28, 0xA8, 0x68, 0xE8, 0x18, 0x98, 0x58, 0xD8, 0x38, 0xB8, 0x78, 0xF8,
        0x04, 0x84, 0x44, 0xC4, 0x24, 0xA4, 0x64, 0xE4, 0x14, 0x94, 0x54, 0xD4, 0x34, 0xB4, 0x74, 0xF4,
        0x0C, 0x8C, 0x4C, 0xCC, 0x2C, 0xAC, 0x6C, 0xEC, 0x1C, 0x9C, 0x5C, 0xDC, 0x3C, 0xBC, 0x7C, 0xFC,
        0x02, 0x82, 0x42, 0xC2, 0x22, 0xA2, 0x62, 0xE2, 0x12, 0x92, 0x52, 0xD2, 0x32, 0xB2, 0x72, 0xF2,
        0x0A, 0x8A, 0x4A, 0xCA, 0x2A, 0xAA, 0x6A, 0xEA, 0x1A, 0x9A, 0x5A, 0xDA, 0x3A, 0xBA, 0x7A, 0xFA,
        0x06, 0x86, 0x46, 0xC6, 0x26, 0xA6, 0x66, 0xE6, 0x16, 0x96, 0x56, 0xD6, 0x36, 0xB6, 0x76, 0xF6,
        0x0E, 0x8E, 0x4E, 0xCE, 0x2E, 0xAE, 0x6E, 0xEE, 0x1E, 0x9E, 0x5E, 0xDE, 0x3E, 0xBE, 0x7E, 0xFE,
        0x01, 0x81, 0x41, 0xC1, 0x21, 0xA1, 0x61, 0xE1, 0x11, 0x91, 0x51, 0xD1, 0x31, 0xB1, 0x71, 0xF1,
        0x09, 0x89, 0x49, 0xC9, 0x29, 0xA9, 0x69, 0xE9, 0x19, 0x99, 0x59, 0xD9, 0x39, 0xB9, 0x79, 0xF9,
        0x05, 0x85, 0x45, 0xC5, 0x25, 0xA5, 0x65, 0xE5, 0x15, 0x95, 0x55, 0xD5, 0x35, 0xB5, 0x75, 0xF5,
        0x0D, 0x8D, 0x4D, 0xCD, 0x2D, 0xAD, 0x6D, 0xED, 0x1D, 0x9D, 0x5D, 0xDD, 0x3D, 0xBD, 0x7D, 0xFD,
        0x03, 0x83, 0x43, 0xC3, 0x23, 0xA3, 0x63, 0xE3, 0x13, 0x93, 0x53, 0xD3, 0x33, 0xB3, 0x73, 0xF3,
        0x0B, 0x8B, 0x4B, 0xCB, 0x2B, 0xAB, 0x6B, 0xEB, 0x1B, 0x9B, 0x5B, 0xDB, 0x3B, 0xBB, 0x7B, 0xFB,
        0x07, 0x87, 0x47, 0xC7, 0x27, 0xA7, 0x67, 0xE7, 0x17, 0x97, 0x57, 0xD7, 0x37, 0xB7, 0x77, 0xF7,
        0x0F, 0x8F, 0x4F, 0xCF, 0x2F, 0xAF, 0x6F, 0xEF, 0x1F, 0x9F, 0x5F, 0xDF, 0x3F, 0xBF, 0x7F, 0xFF,

And here's a character version:

    "\x00", "\x80", "\x40", "\xC0", "\x20", "\xA0", "\x60", "\xE0", "\x10", "\x90", "\x50", "\xD0", "\x30", "\xB0", "\x70", "\xF0",
    "\x08", "\x88", "\x48", "\xC8", "\x28", "\xA8", "\x68", "\xE8", "\x18", "\x98", "\x58", "\xD8", "\x38", "\xB8", "\x78", "\xF8",
    "\x04", "\x84", "\x44", "\xC4", "\x24", "\xA4", "\x64", "\xE4", "\x14", "\x94", "\x54", "\xD4", "\x34", "\xB4", "\x74", "\xF4",
    "\x0C", "\x8C", "\x4C", "\xCC", "\x2C", "\xAC", "\x6C", "\xEC", "\x1C", "\x9C", "\x5C", "\xDC", "\x3C", "\xBC", "\x7C", "\xFC",
    "\x02", "\x82", "\x42", "\xC2", "\x22", "\xA2", "\x62", "\xE2", "\x12", "\x92", "\x52", "\xD2", "\x32", "\xB2", "\x72", "\xF2",
    "\x0A", "\x8A", "\x4A", "\xCA", "\x2A", "\xAA", "\x6A", "\xEA", "\x1A", "\x9A", "\x5A", "\xDA", "\x3A", "\xBA", "\x7A", "\xFA",
    "\x06", "\x86", "\x46", "\xC6", "\x26", "\xA6", "\x66", "\xE6", "\x16", "\x96", "\x56", "\xD6", "\x36", "\xB6", "\x76", "\xF6",
    "\x0E", "\x8E", "\x4E", "\xCE", "\x2E", "\xAE", "\x6E", "\xEE", "\x1E", "\x9E", "\x5E", "\xDE", "\x3E", "\xBE", "\x7E", "\xFE",
    "\x01", "\x81", "\x41", "\xC1", "\x21", "\xA1", "\x61", "\xE1", "\x11", "\x91", "\x51", "\xD1", "\x31", "\xB1", "\x71", "\xF1",
    "\x09", "\x89", "\x49", "\xC9", "\x29", "\xA9", "\x69", "\xE9", "\x19", "\x99", "\x59", "\xD9", "\x39", "\xB9", "\x79", "\xF9",
    "\x05", "\x85", "\x45", "\xC5", "\x25", "\xA5", "\x65", "\xE5", "\x15", "\x95", "\x55", "\xD5", "\x35", "\xB5", "\x75", "\xF5",
    "\x0D", "\x8D", "\x4D", "\xCD", "\x2D", "\xAD", "\x6D", "\xED", "\x1D", "\x9D", "\x5D", "\xDD", "\x3D", "\xBD", "\x7D", "\xFD",
    "\x03", "\x83", "\x43", "\xC3", "\x23", "\xA3", "\x63", "\xE3", "\x13", "\x93", "\x53", "\xD3", "\x33", "\xB3", "\x73", "\xF3",
    "\x0B", "\x8B", "\x4B", "\xCB", "\x2B", "\xAB", "\x6B", "\xEB", "\x1B", "\x9B", "\x5B", "\xDB", "\x3B", "\xBB", "\x7B", "\xFB",
    "\x07", "\x87", "\x47", "\xC7", "\x27", "\xA7", "\x67", "\xE7", "\x17", "\x97", "\x57", "\xD7", "\x37", "\xB7", "\x77", "\xF7",
    "\x0F", "\x8F", "\x4F", "\xCF", "\x2F", "\xAF", "\x6F", "\xEF", "\x1F", "\x9F", "\x5F", "\xDF", "\x3F", "\xBF", "\x7F", "\xFF",
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