To convert data to base 64, the first byte is placed in the most significant eight bits of a 24-bit buffer, the next in the middle eight, and the third in the least significant eight bits. If there a fewer than three bytes to encode, the corresponding buffer bits will be zero. The buffer is then used, six bits at a time, most significant first, as indices into the string "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/" and the indicated character output. If there were only one or two input bytes, the output is padded with two or one "=" characters respectively. This prevents extra bits being added to the reconstructed data. The process then repeats on the remaining input data.