This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

Type int

The size of a signed or unsigned int item is the standard size of an integer on a particular machine. For example, in 16-bit operating systems, the int type is usually 16 bits, or 2 bytes. In 32-bit operating systems, the int type is usually 32 bits, or 4 bytes. Thus, the int type is equivalent to either the short int or the long int type, and the unsigned int type is equivalent to either the unsigned short or the unsigned long type, depending on the target environment. The int types all represent signed values unless specified otherwise.

The type specifiers int and unsigned int (or simply unsigned) define certain features of the C language (for instance, the enum type). In these cases, the definitions of int and unsigned int for a particular implementation determine the actual storage.

Microsoft Specific

Signed integers are represented in two's-complement form. The most-significant bit holds the sign: 1 for negative, 0 for positive and zero. The range of values is given in C Integer Limits, which is taken from the LIMITS.H header file.

END Microsoft Specific


The int and unsigned int type specifiers are widely used in C programs because they allow a particular machine to handle integer values in the most efficient way for that machine. However, since the sizes of the int and unsigned int types vary, programs that depend on a specific int size may not be portable to other machines. To make programs more portable, you can use expressions with the sizeof operator (as discussed in The sizeof Operator) instead of hard-coded data sizes.

See Also