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Fundamental Types

Fundamental types in C++ are divided into three categories: integral, floating, and void. Integral types are capable of handling whole numbers. Floating types are capable of specifying values that may have fractional parts.

The void type describes an empty set of values. No variable of type void can be specified — it is used primarily to declare functions that return no values or to declare generic pointers to untyped or arbitrarily typed data. Any expression can be explicitly converted or cast to type void. However, such expressions are restricted to the following uses:

The following table explains the restrictions on type sizes. These restrictions are independent of the Microsoft implementation.

Fundamental Types of the C++ Language

Category

Type

Contents

Integral

char

Type char is an integral type that usually contains members of the execution character set — in Microsoft C++, this is ASCII.

 

 

The C++ compiler treats variables of type char, signed char, and unsigned char as having different types. Variables of type char are promoted to int as if they are type signed char by default, unless the /J compilation option is used. In this case they are treated as type unsigned char and are promoted to int without sign extension.

 

bool

Type bool is an integral type that can have one of the two values true or false. Its size is unspecified.

 

short

Type short int (or simply short) is an integral type that is larger than or equal to the size of type char, and shorter than or equal to the size of type int.

 

 

Objects of type short can be declared as signed short or unsigned short. Signed short is a synonym for short.

 

int

Type int is an integral type that is larger than or equal to the size of type short int, and shorter than or equal to the size of type long.

 

 

Objects of type int can be declared as signed int or unsigned int. Signed int is a synonym for int.

 

__intn

Sized integer, where n is the size, in bits, of the integer variable. The value of n can be 8, 16, 32, or 64. (__intn is a Microsoft-specific keyword.)

 

long

Type long (or long int) is an integral type that is larger than or equal to the size of type int.

 

 

Objects of type long can be declared as signed long or unsigned long. Signed long is a synonym for long.

long long

Larger than an unsigned long.

Objects of type long long can be declared as signed long long or unsigned long long. Signed long long is a synonym for long long.

Floating

float

Type float is the smallest floating type.

 

double

Type double is a floating type that is larger than or equal to type float, but shorter than or equal to the size of type long double.1

 

long double1

Type long double is a floating type that is equal to type double.

Wide-character

__wchar_t

A variable of __wchar_t designates a wide-character or multibyte character type. By default, wchar_t is a native type but you can use /Zc:wchar_t- to make wchar_t a typedef for unsigned short.

Use the L prefix before a character or string constant to designate the wide-character-type constant.

1   The representation of long double and double is identical. However, long double and double are separate types.

Microsoft Specific

The following table lists the amount of storage required for fundamental types in Microsoft C++.

Sizes of Fundamental Types

Type

Size

bool

1 byte

char, unsigned char, signed char

1 byte

short, unsigned short

2 bytes

int, unsigned int

4 bytes

__intn

8, 16, 32, 64, or 128 bits depending on the value of n. __intn is Microsoft-specific.

long, unsigned long

4 bytes

float

4 bytes

double

8 bytes

long double1

8 bytes

long long

Equivalent to __int64.

1   The representation of long double and double is identical. However, long double and double are separate types.

See Data Type Ranges for a summary of the range of values of each type.

For more information about type conversion, see Standard Conversions.

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