What Is a Structure in Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

When it comes to data structures, one crucial concept to understand is the idea of a “structure.” In simple terms, a structure is a user-defined data type that allows you to combine different types of data under a single name. It provides a way to organize related data items, making it easier to manage and manipulate them.

What Is a Structure?

A structure in data structure is similar to a record or a class in programming languages. It consists of multiple fields or members, each with its own data type and name. These fields can be of any primitive or user-defined types, such as integers, floats, characters, arrays, or even other structures.

Structures are used to represent complex real-world entities that possess multiple attributes. For example, consider a program that needs to store information about students in a school. Instead of creating separate variables for each attribute like name, age, grade, and address for each student, we can define a structure called “Student” that encapsulates all these attributes into one entity.

Defining a Structure

To define a structure in HTML using the C programming language syntax:

<b>struct</b> Student {
    <b>char</b> name[50];
    <b>int</b> age;
    <b>char</b> grade;
    <b>char</b> address[100];

In this example, we defined a structure called “Student” with four members: name, age, grade, and address. The name member is an array of characters with a maximum length of 50, while the age, grade, and address members are single variables of type int, char, and array of characters, respectively.

Accessing Structure Members

To access the members of a structure, you use the “.” (dot) operator.

Following our previous example, let’s say we have declared a variable called “student1” of type “Student”. To assign values to its members:

student1.name = "John Doe";
student1.age = 16;
student1.grade = 'A';
student1.address = "123 Main St";

You can also access structure members using the “->” (arrow) operator if you have a pointer to a structure. For example:

struct Student *ptr;
ptr = &student1;
ptr->name = "Jane Smith";

Benefits of Using Structures

Structures provide several benefits in organizing and managing data:

  • Easier Organization: Structures allow you to group related data together, making it easier to understand and manage.
  • Data Abstraction: Structures hide the internal details of data representation, allowing you to focus on the behavior and functionality instead.
  • Data Reusability: You can define structures once and reuse them multiple times within your program or even across different programs.
  • Data Integrity: By encapsulating related data into a structure, you can ensure that all attributes are updated consistently and avoid data inconsistencies.


Structures are an essential concept in data structures that allow you to organize and manage related data effectively. By combining different types of data under a single name, structures provide a way to represent complex entities and improve code organization and readability. Understanding how to define and access structure members is crucial for working with structured data efficiently.

Now that you have a better understanding of what structures are in data structures, you can start applying this knowledge to design more efficient and organized programs.

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