Data Types in C

Safalta Expert Published by: Gaurav Bawa Updated Tue, 13 Sep 2022 02:13 AM IST


Data types, as the name implies, pertain to the type of data that we use in a C program.

Data types, as the name implies, pertain to the type of data that we use in a C program. When we utilize a data type in a C program, we declare the variables or functions that will be used in it. We do this because we need to describe the kind of data in use so that the compiler understands exactly what sort of data to anticipate from the provided application.


The Function of Data Types in C

In C, data types refer to a comprehensive system that we utilise to define various sorts of functions or variables in a programme. We decide the space that a variable occupies in storage, as well as how the stored bit pattern will be interpreted, based on the kind of variable contained in a programme.

A data type determines the type of data that a variable may hold, for example, integer, floating point, character, and so on.

Data Types in C Example

Let's look at an example to better grasp data kinds.

For example, we may use some integers like 5, 8, 600, or a decimal point number like 43.59, 127.368, 271.49, or a phrase like "cappuccino." The C compiler, on the other hand, would treat all of this quite differently. As a result, we employ distinct data types to specify the data types we want in the application.


Data type types in C

In C language, data types are classified into five primary categories:
Data Type Example of Data Type
Basic Data Type Floating-point, integer, double, character.
Derived Data Type Union, structure, array, etc.
Enumerated Data Type Enums
Void Data Type Empty Value
Bool Type True or False

In C programming, the fundamental data types are often referred to as the primary data types.


Primary Data Types in C

Here are the five primitive or primary data types found in the C programming language:

1. Integer - These are used to store entire integers such as 5, 8, 67, 2390, and so on.

2. Character - This term refers to all ASCII character sets as well as single alphabets such as 'x', 'Y', and so on.

3. Double - These are all huge types of numeric values that do not fall under either the floating-point or integer data types.

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More information may be found in Double Data Type in C.

4. Floating-point - This term refers to all real numerical values or decimal points, such as 40.1, 820.673, 5.9, and so on.

5. Void - This phrase refers to the absence of all values. This data type is usually used when defining functions in a software.

In a programme, many keywords are used to indicate the data types listed above. Here are some of the keywords we use:
Keyword Used Data Type
int Integer
float Floating-point
void Void
char Character
double Double

Every data type's size is specified in bytes/bits. Furthermore, these data types may store a broad variety of values.


Various Data Type Values

The size of any given data type in a programme is heavily influenced by the processor type and the compiler. Simply expressed, the size of the data type is fully dependent on the computer on which we run the C language, as well as the version of the C programme compiler that we installed on the computer.


The int data type might be 4 or 2 bytes long.

It is fairly simple to remember the size of the int data type. The supplied size is usually equal to the length of the program's execution environment's word. In other words, int will be two bytes or sixteen bits in a 16-bit environment. In the case of a 32-bit environment, int will be 4 bytes or 32 bits.


The char data type is 1 byte in size.

The char data type is basically 8 bits or 1 byte in size. With various compilers and interpreters, there would be no variance. It indicates that the type of compiler or processor utilized has no bearing on its size.

The double data type has an 8-byte size.

The double data type has a capacity of 64 bits or 8 bytes. It can hold values that are roughly double the size of the bytes that the float data type can store. This is why it is referred to as the double. When looking at the whole 64 bits, the software utilizes 1 bit for sign representation, 11 bits for the exponent, and the remaining 52 bits for the mantissa. This data type may carry around 15-17 digits after and before the decimal of the data type.

The float data type has a size of 4 bytes.

The float data type has a capacity of 32 bits or 4 bytes. The float data type has a single precision and is used to store decimal numbers. It aids in the storing of many huge values, however, the float is quicker than double. This is due to the fact that double operates with significantly bigger data quantities. As a result, it is slower in comparison.

The void data type has a size of 0 bytes.

Because the void data type has no significance, it has no size. All of these data types encompass a wide range of values. But, before we get there, let's look at the modifiers that are utilized in the data types.

Modifiers for Data Types in the C Programming Language

For all data types used in C, there are four main types of modifiers. We utilize them, together with all of the core data categories, to further categorize them. For example, if we mention there's a chocolate bar on the table, the person we're speaking to will be aware that there is a chocolate bar on the table. However, if we are more precise and explain that there is a dark chocolate bar or a milk chocolate bar on the table, it will become much clearer and distinct to the person who is listening.
Modifiers in C assist to make the fundamental or primitive data types considerably more particular in a similar way.

Here are a few examples of modifiers.
  • short
  • long
  • unsigned
  • signed
The unsigned and signed modifiers, as the names imply, are used to display unsigned (only +) and signed (- and +) values in any given data type. Furthermore, the short and long modifiers affect the value range of any given data type. Long int, short int, unsigned int, signed int, and so on are all acceptable data types in the C programming language. When we combine all of the previously described modifiers with the five primitive or primary data types, we get the following data types:

What exactly is a keyword in C?

Keywords are words with particular meanings for the C compiler. An identifier cannot have the same spelling and case as a C keyword in translation stages 7 and 8.

What exactly is a loop in C?

In C, the for loop is used to iterate over statements or parts of programmes numerous times. It is commonly used to traverse data structures such as arrays and linked lists.

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