What Is Long Data Type in C?


Angela Bailey

What Is Long Data Type in C?

In the C programming language, the long data type is used to represent integers with a larger range than the int data type. It is especially useful when dealing with values that exceed the limits of an int, allowing you to work with numbers that are larger or smaller.

The Size of long in C

The size of a long data type varies depending on the compiler and the platform you are working on. However, it is guaranteed to be at least 32 bits, which means it can hold values ranging from -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647.

If you need a larger range for your integers, you can use the long long data type instead. The long long data type is at least 64 bits and can hold values ranging from -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807.

When to Use long in C?

You should consider using a long data type when:

  • You need to work with very large or very small integers that exceed the range of an int.
  • You need more precision for calculations involving large numbers.
  • You want to ensure compatibility across different platforms where the size of an int may vary.


In some cases where memory usage is critical, using a long data type may not be the most efficient choice. In such situations, you should consider using the int data type or other alternatives based on your specific requirements.


Here’s an example that demonstrates the use of the long data type:

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
   long largeNumber = 1234567890L;
   printf("The value of largeNumber is %ld\n", largeNumber);
   return 0;

This program declares a variable named largeNumber of type long, assigns it a value, and then prints it to the console using the %ld format specifier.


The suffix L is used to indicate that the literal value is of type long. Without this suffix, the compiler would interpret it as an int.

In Conclusion

The long data type in C allows you to work with integers that have a larger range than the standard int. It is useful when dealing with very large or very small numbers and when precision is crucial.

However, keep in mind that its size may vary across different platforms, and using it may impact memory usage. It’s important to choose the appropriate data type based on your specific needs.

I hope this article has provided you with a clear understanding of what the long data type is in C and when to use it. Happy coding!

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