What Is Basic Data Type in C?


Larry Thompson

In C programming language, a basic data type is a type that represents the most fundamental and elementary forms of data that can be manipulated by the language. These data types are built into the language and are used to define variables, constants, and function return types.

Types of Basic Data Types in C

C supports several basic data types, each with its own characteristics. Let’s explore some of the most commonly used basic data types in C:

1. Integer Types

Integers represent whole numbers without any decimal places. In C, there are different integer types available:

  • int: This is the most commonly used integer type in C. It typically occupies 4 bytes of memory on most systems.
  • char: The char type represents a single character and occupies 1 byte of memory.
  • short: The short type is used to store smaller integers and typically occupies 2 bytes of memory.
  • long: The long type is used to store larger integers and typically occupies 8 bytes of memory.

2. Floating-Point Types

Floating-point types are used to represent numbers with decimal places or fractional parts.

In C, there are two commonly used floating-point types:

  • float: The float type is used to represent single-precision floating-point numbers. It typically occupies 4 bytes of memory.
  • double: The double type is used to represent double-precision floating-point numbers with higher precision than float. It typically occupies 8 bytes of memory.

3. Void Type

The void type is a special type in C that represents the absence of a value. It is often used as a return type for functions that do not return any value or as a parameter type for functions that do not accept any arguments.

Size and Range of Basic Data Types

The size and range of basic data types in C may vary depending on the system and compiler being used. However, the C standard specifies minimum ranges for each data type:

  • int: At least 16 bits (-32,767 to +32,767)
  • char: At least 8 bits (-128 to +127)
  • short: At least 16 bits (-32,767 to +32,767)
  • long: At least 32 bits (-2,147,483,647 to +2,147,483,647)
  • float: Typically 4 bytes with around 6 decimal places of precision.
  • double: Typically 8 bytes with around 15 decimal places of precision.


In this article, we discussed the concept of basic data types in C programming language. We explored various integer and floating-point types along with their characteristics and memory requirements.

Additionally, we touched upon the void type and its usage. Understanding these basic data types is essential for writing efficient and reliable C programs.

We hope this article provided you with a clear understanding of basic data types in C!

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