What Is Meant by Enumerated Data Type?


Larry Thompson

An enumerated data type, also known as an enumeration or enum, is a user-defined data type in programming languages that consists of a set of named values. Each value in an enumerated data type is assigned a unique identifier, which can be used to represent specific states, options, or choices within a program.

Defining an Enumerated Data Type

To define an enumerated data type in most programming languages, you use the enum keyword followed by the name of the data type and a set of possible values enclosed in curly braces. For example:

enum Days {

In this example, we have defined an enumerated data type called Days with five possible values: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Each value is automatically assigned a unique identifier based on its position within the list.

Accessing Enumerated Values

Once you have defined an enumerated data type, you can use its values in your program by referencing them using the dot notation. For example:

// Assigning an enum value to a variable
Days today = Days.Tuesday;

// Comparing enum values
if (today == Days.Wednesday) {
  console.log("Today is Wednesday!");

In this code snippet, we assign the value Tuesday from the Days enum to the variable today. We can then compare this value with other enum values using conditional statements.

Benefits of Using Enumerated Data Types

The use of enumerated data types offers several benefits:

  • Readability and Maintainability: Enumerated values provide a clear and self-descriptive way to represent specific options or states in a program. This improves the readability of the code and makes it easier to understand and maintain.
  • Type Safety: Enumerated data types are strongly typed, meaning they enforce type safety at compile time.

    This helps prevent errors caused by using incorrect values.

  • Code Completion: Many integrated development environments (IDEs) provide code completion suggestions when working with enumerated data types. This can help developers write code faster and reduce the likelihood of typographical errors.

Example: Using Enumerated Data Type in C#

In C#, you can define an enumerated data type using the enum keyword:

enum Colors {

class Program {
  static void Main() {
    Colors myColor = Colors.Red;

In this example, we define an enum called Colors, which represents different colors. We then create a variable called myColor, assign it to the value Red, and print it to the console. The output will be “Red”.

Enumerated data types are a powerful tool for representing a set of related options or states in programming languages. By using them effectively, you can improve the readability, maintainability, and type safety of your code.

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