What Is User-Defined Data Type With Example?


Heather Bennett

A user-defined data type, as the name suggests, is a data type that is defined by the user. It allows programmers to create their own custom data types based on their specific requirements. This feature is particularly useful when the standard built-in data types in programming languages do not meet the needs of a particular application.

Why Use User-Defined Data Types?
User-defined data types offer several benefits. They enhance code readability, simplify program maintenance, and promote code reusability.

By defining custom data types, programmers can create variables that are more meaningful and self-explanatory. This makes it easier for other developers to understand and work with the code.

Example of User-Defined Data Type:
Let’s consider an example to illustrate the concept of user-defined data types. Suppose we are building a simple program to manage employee records.

Each employee has attributes such as name, age, and salary. Instead of using separate variables for each attribute, we can define a custom data type called “Employee” that encapsulates all these attributes into a single entity.

Defining the User-Defined Data Type

We can define the “Employee” data type using a structure in C or C++ or using a class in languages like Java or C#. Let’s assume we are using C++ for this example:

struct Employee {

   string name;

   int age;

   float salary;


In this example, we have defined a structure named “Employee” that contains three attributes – name (of type string), age (of type int), and salary (of type float).

Using the User-Defined Data Type

Once we have defined the user-defined data type, we can create variables of that type and use them in our program. Here’s an example:

Employee emp1;

   emp1.name = “John Doe”;

   emp1.age = 30;

   emp1.salary = 5000.00;

In this code snippet, we declare a variable named “emp1” of type “Employee”. We then assign values to its attributes using the dot (.) operator.

Benefits of Using User-Defined Data Types

Using user-defined data types brings several advantages to our programming endeavors:

  • Code Reusability: Once we define a custom data type, we can reuse it in multiple parts of our program without rewriting the same code repeatedly.
  • Readability and Maintainability: User-defined data types make our code more readable and easier to maintain as they encapsulate related attributes into a single entity.
  • Data Integrity: By defining custom data types, we can enforce constraints and validation rules specific to that data type, ensuring data integrity throughout our program.

The Wrap Up

User-defined data types are a powerful tool in programming that allows us to create custom data structures tailored to our application’s needs. They enhance code readability, simplify maintenance, and promote reusability. By using user-defined data types effectively, we can write cleaner, more organized code that is easier to understand and maintain.

So next time you find yourself needing a specialized data type, don’t hesitate to create your own user-defined data type!

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