Which of These Is a User-Defined Data Type?


Larry Thompson

User-defined data types are an essential aspect of programming languages. They allow programmers to create custom data structures tailored to their specific needs. In this article, we will explore various data types and identify which one among them is a user-defined data type.

What Are Data Types?
Data types define the nature of data that can be stored and manipulated in a programming language. They determine the range of values that a variable can hold and the operations that can be performed on it. Common built-in data types include integers, floating-point numbers, characters, and booleans.

Built-in Data Types:
Built-in or primitive data types are provided by the programming language itself. They are predefined and readily available for use without requiring any additional configuration.

Examples of Built-in Data Types:
int: Used to store whole numbers. – float: Used to store floating-point numbers with decimals.

char: Used to store individual characters. – bool: Used to store boolean values – true or false.

User-Defined Data Types:
Unlike built-in data types, user-defined data types are created by programmers themselves according to their specific requirements. These custom data types help in organizing complex information into a single unit, making code more manageable and modular.

In general, there are two main categories of user-defined data types:

#1 – Structs

Structures (structs) are composite or aggregate user-defined data types that group together different variables with different data types under a single name. This allows for creating a new type that represents a collection of related values.

Structs enable programmers to define their own blueprint for storing information about real-world entities or concepts. For example, if we want to represent a person’s details like name, age, and address, we can create a struct called “Person” with fields for each of these attributes.

Here’s an example of a struct definition in C++:

struct Person {
  string name;
  int age;
  string address;

In the above code snippet, we define a struct called “Person” that consists of three fields: name (of type string), age (of type int), and address (of type string).

#2 – Classes

Classes are another form of user-defined data types commonly used in object-oriented programming languages like C++ and Java. A class is essentially a blueprint or template for creating objects that encapsulate both data and behavior.

Unlike structs, classes can contain both member variables (data) and member functions (behavior). They provide a way to define objects with their own attributes and actions.

For instance, consider a class called “Car” that represents various properties of a car such as brand, model, and color. The class can have member variables to store these properties and member functions to perform operations like starting the engine or changing the color.

Here’s an example of a class definition in Java:

public class Car {
  private String brand;
  private String model;
  private String color;

  public Car(String brand, String model, String color) {
    this.brand = brand;
    this.model = model;
    this.color = color;

  public void startEngine() {
    System.out.println("Engine started!");

  public void changeColor(String newColor) {
    this.color = newColor;
    System.println("Car color changed to " + newColor);

In the above code snippet, we define a class called “Car” with three private member variables: brand, model, and color. It also includes two member functions: startEngine() and changeColor().

User-defined data types play a crucial role in programming as they allow programmers to create their own custom data structures. Both structs and classes are examples of user-defined data types that help in organizing complex information and improving code modularity.

So, to answer the question, both structs and classes are user-defined data types. Structs provide a simpler way to group related variables, while classes offer more advanced features like encapsulation and member functions.

In conclusion, user-defined data types provide flexibility and customization in programming languages, enabling developers to create efficient and modular code.

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