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Data types in C Language

Data types specify how we enter data into our programs and what type of data we enter. C language has some predefined set of data types to handle various kinds of data that we can use in our program. These datatypes have different storage capacities.

C language supports 2 different type of data types:

  1. Primary data types:

    These are fundamental data types in C namely integer(int), floating point(float), character(char) and void.

  2. Derived data types:

    Derived data types are nothing but primary datatypes but a little twisted or grouped together like array, stucture, union and pointer. These are discussed in details later.

Data type determines the type of data a variable will hold. If a variable x is declared as int. it means x can hold only integer values. Every variable which is used in the program must be declared as what data-type it is.


Primary data types in c


Integer type

Integers are used to store whole numbers.

Size and range of Integer type on 16-bit machine:

TypeSize(bytes)Range
int or signed int2-32,768 to 32767
unsigned int20 to 65535
short int or signed short int1-128 to 127
unsigned short int10 to 255
long int or signed long int4-2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647
unsigned long int40 to 4,294,967,295

Floating point type

Floating types are used to store real numbers.

Size and range of Integer type on 16-bit machine

TypeSize(bytes)Range
Float43.4E-38 to 3.4E+38
double81.7E-308 to 1.7E+308
long double103.4E-4932 to 1.1E+4932

Character type

Character types are used to store characters value.

Size and range of Integer type on 16-bit machine

TypeSize(bytes)Range
char or signed char1-128 to 127
unsigned char10 to 255

void type

void type means no value. This is usually used to specify the type of functions which returns nothing. We will get acquainted to this datatype as we start learning more advanced topics in C language, like functions, pointers etc.