What Data Structure Is Used to Create a String?


Angela Bailey

What Data Structure Is Used to Create a String?

A string is a fundamental data type in programming that represents a sequence of characters. It is used to store and manipulate textual data.

In many programming languages, strings are implemented using an array-like structure called a character array. Let’s explore how this data structure is used to create and manipulate strings.

Character Array

A character array is a contiguous block of memory that stores individual characters. Each character occupies one memory location, allowing for easy access and manipulation. The characters are stored in sequential order, forming a string.


char str[] = "Hello";

In the example above, the character array “str” stores the string “Hello”. Each character – ‘H’, ‘e’, ‘l’, ‘l’, and ‘o’ – occupies consecutive memory locations in the array.

Operations on Strings

Character arrays provide various operations to manipulate strings:

  • Accessing Characters: Individual characters within a string can be accessed using their index positions. For example, str[0] would give us the first character ‘H’.
  • Modifying Characters: Since character arrays are mutable, we can modify individual characters within a string by assigning new values to specific indices.
  • Concatenation: Character arrays can be concatenated (joined) using appropriate functions or operators. This allows us to combine multiple strings into one.
  • Comparison: Strings can be compared using functions or operators to determine equality or ordering based on lexicographical order.
  • Length: The length of a string can be determined by counting the number of characters until the null character ‘\0’ is encountered.


#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>

int main() {
  char str1[] = "Hello";
  char str2[] = " World";
  // Concatenation
  strcat(str1, str2);
  // Print concatenated string
  printf("%s", str1);
  return 0;

In this example, two character arrays – “str1” and “str2” – are concatenated using the strcat() function. The resulting string is then printed, displaying “Hello World”.


A character array is commonly used as the underlying data structure to create strings in programming. It allows for efficient access and manipulation of individual characters within a sequence. By understanding how strings are implemented using character arrays, you can effectively work with textual data in your programs.

Keep practicing and experimenting with strings to enhance your programming skills!

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