Presentation Layer of the OSI Model

The Presentation layer is primarily responsible for data representation and formatting, ensuring that data can be viewed correctly. These formats are sometimes referred to as the “data syntax” of the applications in use. For example, different systems may use different schemes to represent data. While one system might use ASCII or EBCIDC, another might use UNICODE. Since these schemes contain different character possibilities, it is the responsibility of the Presentation layer to make sure they are displayed in the correct or common format between the client and the server. Further to this, the Presentation layer is also where data compression and encryption are generally considered to take place.

Examples of common Presentation layer formats:

  • ASCII, EBCIDC, UNICODE, RTF: Text encoding formats
  • MPEG, AVI, QuickTime: Video encoding formats
  • JPEG, PNG, TIFF: Graphics formats
  • MIDI: Sound format

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.