A method and apparatus for decompressing and compressing data is described. The present invention provides an encoder for use in a compression system having a decoder for decoding information generated by the encoder. The encoder of the present invention includes a coder for producing codeword information in response to data. The encoder also includes a reorder unit that generates a coded data stream in response to the codeword information from the coder. The reorder unit comprises a run count reorder unit for arranging codewords into a decoding order and a bit pack unit to combine variable length codewords into fixed length interleaved words and to output the fixed length interleaved words in an order required by the decoder.