Each character was punched into its own line on a paper tape

With paper tape, the characters are punched into a long tape in sequence. This has also provided the model for the simple file formats used by the Unix operating system, the Internet and microprocessors.

Another storage medium, developed by IBM at the beginning of the century, was standard-sized punchcards, which were used in mainframe computers. There was room for 80 characters on each card, and this line-length was later adopted by many file formats used in data communication in mainframes, and later in terminals. In the academic world, it became familiar to most of those who used the EARN and BITNET networks in the 1980.

Punch cards had 80 columns for characters