What Are the Different Types of Real Data Type?


Heather Bennett

Real data types are fundamental in programming, as they represent numeric values with decimal points. These data types are used to store values that require fractional precision. In this article, we will explore the different types of real data types and their respective characteristics.

Single Precision

The single precision real data type, also known as “float,” is widely used to store decimal numbers with moderate precision. It occupies 4 bytes of memory and can handle a range of approximately ±3.4 x 10^38, with a precision of roughly 7 digits.

Double Precision

The double precision real data type, commonly referred to as “double,” provides increased precision compared to single precision. It requires 8 bytes of memory and can handle a range of approximately ±1.7 x 10^308, with a precision of around 15 digits.

Extended Precision

The extended precision real data type offers even higher accuracy than double precision. It occupies varying amounts of memory depending on the platform but generally uses 10 or 12 bytes.

The range and precision supported by extended precision vary depending on the implementation.

Quad Precision

Quad precision is the highest level of accuracy available for real data types. It requires 16 bytes of memory and offers an extensive range and significant precision.

With quad precision, you can handle extremely large or small numbers with exceptional accuracy.

Choosing the Right Real Data Type

When deciding which real data type to use, consider the specific requirements of your program. If you need high accuracy in calculations or deal with very large or small values, quad or extended precision may be necessary.

However, keep in mind that these types may consume more memory than single or double precision.

For most general-purpose applications, double precision is often sufficient. It provides a balance between memory usage and precision, offering a wide range of values with a reasonable level of accuracy.


To summarize, real data types are essential for handling decimal numbers in programming. The choice of real data type depends on the specific requirements of your program.

Single precision is suitable for moderate precision needs, while double precision strikes a balance between memory usage and accuracy. Extended precision and quad precision offer higher levels of accuracy but may require more memory.

Understanding the characteristics and differences between these real data types will help you make informed decisions when working with decimal values in your programs.

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