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Encoding data based on binary encoding methods and visual cryptography schemes is presented in this paper. First, a visual cryptography scheme is used to share pixels of a covert data to form two shadow matrices by using a specified sharing matrix. Then, the two shadow matrices are encoded into a host image to form an overt image by using a specific encoding rule. The overt image contains four groups of binary codes (specification codes), i.e. identification codes, covert-data dimension codes, sharing-matrix dimension codes, and information codes, to denote the parameters used for sharing and encoding. According to the test results, the proposed method performs well. Moreover, the overt image and the host image look almost the same, and the decoded covert data is exactly the same as the original covert data.