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What are Data Types in C Programming - Various Data Types in C with Examples

What are Data Types in C Programming - Various Data Types in C with Examples

08 Dec 2023
10 min read
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Data Types in C: An Overview

Till now, you must have become somewhat familiar with the data types in C. We already saw them in the variables and keywords section. Here, you will get to know about such an important building block in detail. In order to write effective and error-free code, especially for beginners, it is imperative to understand data types. Explore this concept further in our comprehensive C Tutorial for Beginners.

We are going to look at the wide variety of data types available in C in this article, as well as their importance and applications. You can also check our C Certification Course

What are Data types in C?

Data types in C refer to the various types of data, such as integer and float, that a C program can process. Each type of data is represented by a specific keyword and is used within a program to perform calculations, represent objects, or store strings. Data types in C include basic types like integers, floating-point numbers, and characters; derived types such as pointers in C language, arrays in C language,and structures; and user-defined types such as unions, enumerations, and classes.

  • A data type defines how a certain operation will be performed on the data item specified as its arguments such as an arithmetic operation or a comparison test.
  • Data types also determine the amount of memory allocated for storing a particular type of value.
  • Data types are essential to C programming since they are necessary to define the items used within any program.

Why do we need data types in C?

  • Memory Allocation: Data types determine the amount of memory allocated to a variable. Different data types occupy different amounts of memory, allowing efficient use of resources.
  • Data Representation: Data types define how data is represented in binary form, ensuring that the computer understands how to manipulate and store values.
  • Operations and Functions: Data types determine which operations and functions are valid for a variable. For example, arithmetic operations vary depending on data types (e.g., integer vs. floating-point).
  • Compatibility: Data types ensure compatibility when sharing data between different parts of a program or when interfacing with external libraries or hardware.
  • Optimization: Properly choosing data types can lead to optimized code. For example, using smaller data types for variables that don't require large ranges can save memory and improve performance.
  • Code Readability: Data types make code more readable and self-documenting. They convey the intended use of a variable to other developers.
  • Portability: Data types help ensure code portability across different platforms and compilers by defining the size and behavior of variables consistently.
  • Memory Management: Data types influence how memory is managed and released, which is crucial for preventing memory leaks and efficiently using system resources.

Various Data Types in C with Examples

There are various types of data types in C, which are:

data types in c language

TypesData Types
Basic Data Type int, char, float, double
Derived Data Type array, pointer, structure, union
Enumeration Data Type enum
Void Data Type void

Basic Data Types in C

The fundamental data types in C, such as integers, floats, characters, etc., that are used to represent simple values are known as the "basic data types."


The int data type is used to store integers (whole numbers) like -1, 0, 42, etc.


int variable_name;


The char data type is used to store single characters like 'A', '1', or '$'.


char variable_name;


The float data type is used to store single-precision floating-point numbers, which can represent decimal values with limited precision.


float variable_name;


The double data type is used to store double-precision floating-point numbers, which offer higher precision than float for decimal values.


double variable_name;

Derived Data Types in C

In the C programming language, a derived data type is a data type that is created by combining one or more basic or other derived data types.


An array is a group of identically typed elements kept in consecutive memory regions. Multiple values of the same type can be stored and accessed using a single variable name.


data_type array_name[array_size];


A pointer is a variable that keeps track of another variable's memory address. Pointers are used to indirectly access data by referencing its location in memory and for dynamic memory allocation.


data_type *pointer_name;


A user-defined composite data type called a "structure" brings together variables of several data kinds under one name. Complex data structures are made using it to represent real-world entities.


struct structure_name {
data_type member1;
data_type member2;
// Add more members as needed


Similar to a structure, a union can only hold one member at once while using the same memory space. When you need to store various sorts of data in the same memory space, unions come in handy.


union union_name {
data_type member1;
data_type member2;
 // Add more members as needed

Enumeration Data Type

A user-defined data type called an enumeration in the C programming language consists of a finite collection of named integer constants that are often used to represent a group of related values with unique names.


Enums are user-defined data types that produce named integer constants in C, improving the readability of the code. In a program, they are used to express fixed collections of related variables or alternatives.


enum enum_name {
 // Add more constants as needed

Void Data Type in C


When a function doesn't return a value or a pointer doesn't have a particular data type attached to it, C uses the void data type to express this.


void functionName(parameters) {
 // Function code


1. Why do we need different data types in C programming?

The ability to efficiently and accurately represent and work with numerous forms of data, including integers, floating-point numbers, characters, and more, is made possible by the different data types available in C.

2. Can I change the data type of a variable after its declaration?

No, you cannot alter the data type of a variable once it has been declared in C. If a new variable with the desired data type is required, you must define it.

3. Can a float data type store very large numbers?

The range of numbers that a float data type may represent is broad, but its precision is constrained, and it may not be able to store very big numbers precisely. Use Cs double or long double data types to precisely handle huge values.

4. How do pointers relate to data types?

As they contain the memory locations of variables, pointers in C are intimately related to data types. The interpretation and manipulation of the data at that memory address are determined by the data type of a pointer.

5. How many data types are in C?

The four basic data types in the C programming language are int (for integers), float (for floating-point numbers), char (for characters), and double (for double-precision floating-point numbers).

6. What are the 32 data types in C?

The basic data types in C are int, float, char, and double, as well as their signed, unsigned, short, and long variants. Although there are more than 32 data types in C when variations are taken into account, the majority of data storage requirements in C programming are met by these fundamental types.


This article gives a vast overview of what is data type in C language including its various data types in C with examples. This article also covers the size of data types in C. If you want to further understand the loop and its application in various C++ programs, you can consider ourC Certification Course.

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Sakshi Dhameja (Author and Mentor)

She is passionate about different technologies like JavaScript, React, HTML, CSS, Node.js etc. and likes to share knowledge with the developer community. She holds strong learning skills in keeping herself updated with the changing technologies in her area as well as other technologies like Core Java, Python and Cloud.

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