What Is User Data Type in C?


Heather Bennett

What Is User Data Type in C?

In the C programming language, a user data type is a way to define a new data type based on existing primitive data types. It allows programmers to create their own custom data types that can be used to store different kinds of information and perform specific operations on them.

Defining a User Data Type

To define a user data type in C, you can use the struct keyword. A struct is a collection of one or more variables grouped together under a single name. Each variable within the struct is called a member.

To create a struct, you start with the struct keyword followed by the name of the struct. Inside the curly braces, you declare the members of the struct along with their respective data types.

struct Student {
    int rollNumber;
    char name[50];
    float marks;

The above code defines a user data type named “Student” which consists of three members: rollNumber (of integer type), name (a character array of size 50), and marks (of float type).

Using User Data Types

Once you have defined a user data type, you can declare variables of that type and use them just like any other built-in data types.

struct Student s1;

s1.rollNumber = 101;
strcpy(s1.name, "John Doe");
s1.marks = 85.5;

In the above example, we declare a variable “s1” of type “Student” and assign values to its members using the dot operator. We can now access and manipulate the data stored in the struct.

Benefits of User Data Types

User data types provide several benefits:

  • Organization: By grouping related variables together, user data types help in organizing and managing complex data structures.
  • Reusability: Once defined, user data types can be used multiple times throughout the program, making the code more modular and reusable.
  • Abstraction: User data types allow programmers to create abstractions by encapsulating related data and operations into a single entity.


User data types are a powerful feature of C that allow programmers to create custom data structures tailored to their specific needs. By defining user data types, you can improve code organization, reusability, and abstraction. Understanding how to define and use user data types is essential for writing efficient and maintainable C programs.

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