Is Array a User-Defined Data Type?


Larry Thompson

Is Array a User-Defined Data Type?

Arrays are an essential concept in programming, allowing us to store and manipulate multiple values under a single variable name. But is an array considered a user-defined data type?

Let’s dive into this topic and explore the characteristics of arrays to find out.

Understanding Data Types

Before we discuss whether arrays are user-defined data types or not, let’s first understand what data types are. In programming, data types define the kind of value a variable can hold.

Examples of commonly used data types include integers, floating-point numbers, characters, and strings.

Data types can be broadly categorized into two categories: built-in (or primitive) data types and user-defined data types.

Built-in Data Types

Built-in data types are those that are provided by the programming language itself. These data types are usually included in the language specification and have predefined characteristics.

Examples of built-in data types include int, float, char, and bool.

User-Defined Data Types

User-defined data types (also known as derived or composite data types) are created by the programmer for specific needs. These data types are composed of one or more built-in or other user-defined data types.

Structs and classes are examples of user-defined data types that allow us to combine different variables under a single entity.

Arrays: A Closer Look

Now that we have a basic understanding of built-in and user-defined data types let’s examine arrays more closely. An array is a collection of elements that share the same type.

It allows us to store multiple values under one variable name.

  • An array can contain elements of any built-in data type, such as integers, floats, characters, or booleans.
  • Arrays have a fixed size, which is determined at the time of declaration.
  • The elements in an array are stored in contiguous memory locations.
  • Accessing elements in an array is done using an index. The index starts at 0 for the first element and increments by one for each subsequent element.

Given these characteristics, arrays can be considered a user-defined data structure rather than a user-defined data type. They are not explicitly defined by the programmer but rather provided as a built-in feature of most programming languages.


In conclusion, while arrays are not considered user-defined data types, they play a crucial role in organizing and manipulating multiple values efficiently. Understanding the difference between built-in and user-defined data types helps us better utilize arrays and other composite data structures effectively.

So next time you work with arrays in your code, remember that they are not just powerful tools for managing collections of values but also an integral part of the programming language itself.

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