What Is the Data Type for Real?


Heather Bennett

What Is the Data Type for Real?

When working with programming languages, it is important to understand the different data types that are available. One common data type is “Real,” which represents numbers with a fractional component. In this article, we will explore what the “Real” data type is and how it can be used in various programming languages.

Understanding the Real Data Type

The “Real” data type, also known as “Float” or “Double,” represents numbers with decimal points or fractions. It is used to store values that require precision beyond what an integer data type can provide. For example, if you need to represent a number like 3.14 or 0.005, you would use the Real data type.

In many programming languages, the Real data type has different sizes or ranges depending on its implementation. For instance, in C++, the “float” data type is typically 32 bits and can store values ranging from approximately -3.4 x 10^38 to +3.4 x 10^38, while the “double” data type is usually 64 bits and has a larger range of about -1.7 x 10^308 to +1.7 x 10^308.

Working with Real Numbers

When dealing with real numbers in programming languages, it is important to consider potential precision issues due to how these numbers are stored internally. Due to binary representation limitations, some numbers cannot be represented exactly using a finite number of bits.

To mitigate precision issues, programming languages provide various techniques such as rounding functions and decimal types that offer higher precision at the cost of increased memory usage and slower performance.

Examples of Real Numbers

  • Example 1: In Python, you can define a real number using the “float” data type. For instance:
  • number = 3.14
  • Example 2: In Java, you can use the “double” data type to represent real numbers. Here’s an example:
  • double value = 0.005;


The Real data type is essential for working with numbers that have fractional components. It provides a way to store and manipulate values that require more precision than integers can offer. However, it is important to be aware of the potential precision issues associated with real numbers and consider alternative approaches when necessary.

In this article, we explored what the Real data type is, how it is used in various programming languages, and discussed potential precision issues. By understanding the Real data type and its limitations, you’ll be better equipped to handle real number calculations in your programming projects.

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