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using Directive (C++)

The using directive allows the names in a namespace to be used without the namespace-name as an explicit qualifier. Of course, the complete, qualified name can still be used to improve readability.

using namespace [::] [ nested-name-specifier ] namespace-name

Note the difference between the using directive and the using declaration : the using declaration allows an individual name to be used without qualification, the using directive allows all the names in a namespace to be used without qualification.

If a local variable has the same name as a namespace variable, the namespace variable is hidden. It is an error to have a namespace variable with the same name as a global variable.

NoteNote

Put your using directive at the beginning of the source code file to reduce the potential for unexpected behavior with IntelliSense.

The std namespace

The ANSI/ISO C++ standard requires you to explicitly declare the namespace in the standard library. For example, when using iostream, you must specify the namespace of cout in one of the following ways:

  • std::cout (explicitly)

  • using std::cout (using declaration)

  • using namespace std (using directive)

/clr

The following sample shows how to allow names in a .NET Framework base class library namespace to be used without the namespace-name as an explicit qualifier.

// using_directive.cpp
// compile with: /c /clr
using namespace System::Reflection;
[assembly:AssemblyDescriptionAttribute("test")];

// using_directive2.cpp
// compile with: /EHsc
#include <iostream>

int main() {
   std::cout << "Hello ";
   using namespace std;
   cout << "World." << endl;
}
Hello World.

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