What Is Data Type in C Explain in Detail?


Larry Thompson

What Is Data Type in C? Explain in Detail

In the programming world, data plays a crucial role. It represents information that is processed by a computer program.

However, different types of data require different ways of handling and storing them. This is where data types come into the picture.

Understanding Data Types

Data types in C are used to define the type of data that a variable can hold. They determine the size and format of the stored values, as well as the operations that can be performed on them.

C provides several built-in data types, each with its own characteristics and uses. Let’s explore some of the commonly used ones:

1. Integer Data Types

Integers are whole numbers without any fractional part. In C, there are various integer data types available:

  • char: Used to store characters or small integers within a limited range.
  • int: Typically used to store integers within a specific range.
  • short: Similar to ‘int,’ but with a smaller range.
  • long: Similar to ‘int,’ but with an extended range.

2. Floating-Point Data Types

Floating-point numbers represent real numbers with fractional parts. C provides two main floating-point data types:

  • float: Used to store single-precision floating-point numbers.
  • double: Used to store double-precision floating-point numbers with higher precision than ‘float.’

3. Character Data Type

The char data type is used to store individual characters, such as letters, numbers, or special symbols. It occupies 1 byte of memory.

4. Boolean Data Type

The bool data type represents boolean values, which can be either true or false. In C, boolean values are represented using integers (0 for false and non-zero for true).

Data Type Modifiers

In addition to the basic data types, C also provides modifiers that can be used to further specify the properties of variables:

  • signed: Specifies that a variable can hold both positive and negative values.
  • unsigned: Specifies that a variable can only hold non-negative values.
  • short: Reduces the range of a variable.
  • long: Extends the range of a variable.

The combination of these modifiers with basic data types allows programmers to fine-tune the storage and behavior of variables according to their requirements.

Casting Data Types

Sometimes we may need to convert a value from one data type to another. This process is known as type casting.

C provides operators for explicit casting between different data types. For example:

int num1 = 10;
float num2 = (float)num1;

In this example, we explicitly cast the integer value ‘num1’ into a float by enclosing it in parentheses and specifying the Target data type before the variable name.


Data types are fundamental to programming in C. They define the type and behavior of variables, allowing programmers to work with different kinds of data efficiently. Understanding data types and their modifiers is essential for writing robust and error-free code.

Now that you have a good grasp of what data types are and how they work in C, you can confidently utilize them in your programs to handle different types of data effectively.

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