What is offset in oscilloscope or what does it represent?

"The signals are shifted from the horizontal middle line of oscilloscope's display and this is because of offset's presence."

What does this mean?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this happen when you connect the measuring tip with the ground lead? The flat line stays above the zero in this case? \$\endgroup\$
    – devnull
    Jun 28, 2019 at 9:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Where did the quoted text come from? What else is being discussed there? \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Jun 28, 2019 at 9:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ "The offset" could refer to the signals, or to a setting on the scope, or to the scope being out of calibration. We need some context, here. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Jun 28, 2019 at 9:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ "The signal A is shown in the upper part of oscilloscope's display because it has a positive offset" \$\endgroup\$
    – user212695
    Jun 28, 2019 at 9:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is archaic terminology. An analog CRT scope put zero volts in the center by default (no vertical deflection). If you wanted it somewhere else, the scope added or subtracted an offset voltage. Modern digital scopes can put zero where ever you want, it isn't really a voltage offset anymore. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mattman944
    Jun 28, 2019 at 9:24

1 Answer 1


It's a feature on scopes. With offset it is possible to change the channel's reference level. You can do this by adjusting up or down relative to ground. You can use it for detecting small verying signals on a larger bias and it's also necessary when you want to subtract a certain DC voltage from the waveform.

You have also "position". Position adjusts the trace vertical position on the scopes display. Not to be confused with offset.

There is also a video which explain it here.


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