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Important This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here.

using Declaration

The using declaration introduces a name into the declarative region in which the using declaration appears.

using [typename][::] nested-name-specifier unqualified-id 
using :: unqualified-id

The name becomes a synonym for an entity declared elsewhere. It allows an individual name from a specific namespace to be used without explicit qualification. This is in contrast to the using directive, which allows all the names in a namespace to be used without qualification. See using Directive for more information.

A using declaration can be used in a class definition.

// using_declaration1.cpp
#include <stdio.h>
class B {
public:
   void f(char) {
      printf_s("In B::f()\n");
   }

   void g(char) {
      printf_s("In B::g()\n");
   }
};

class D : B {
public:
   using B::f;
   using B::g;
   void f(int) {
      printf_s("In D::f()\n");
      f('c');
   }

   void g(int) {
      printf_s("In D::g()\n");
      g('c');
   }
};

int main() {
   D myD;
   myD.f(1);
   myD.g('a');
}
In D::f() In B::f() In B::g()

When used to declare a member, a using declaration must refer to a member of a base class.

// using_declaration2.cpp
#include <stdio.h>

class B {
public:
   void f(char) {
      printf_s("In B::f()\n");
   }

   void g(char) {
      printf_s("In B::g()\n");
   }
};

class C {
public:
   int g();
};

class D2 : public B {
public:
   using B::f;   // ok: B is a base of D2
   // using C::g;   // error: C isn't a base of D2
};

int main() {
   D2 MyD2;
   MyD2.f('a');
}
In B::f()

Members declared with a using declaration can be referenced using explicit qualification. The :: prefix refers to the global namespace.

// using_declaration3.cpp
#include <stdio.h>

void f() {
   printf_s("In f\n");
}

namespace A {
   void g() {
      printf_s("In A::g\n");
   }
}

namespace X {
   using ::f;   // global f
   using A::g;   // A's g
}

void h() {
   printf_s("In h\n");
   X::f();   // calls ::f
   X::g();   // calls A::g
}

int main() {
   h();
}
In h In f In A::g

When a using declaration is made, the synonym created by the declaration refers only to definitions that are valid at the point of the using declaration. Definitions added to a namespace after the using declaration are not valid synonyms.

A name defined by a using declaration is an alias for its original name. It does not affect the type, linkage or other attributes of the original declaration.

// post_declaration_namespace_additions.cpp
// compile with: /c
namespace A {
   void f(int) {}
}

using A::f;   // f is a synonym for A::f(int) only

namespace A {
   void f(char) {}
}

void f() {
   f('a');   // refers to A::f(int), even though A::f(char) exists
}

void b() {
   using A::f;   // refers to A::f(int) AND A::f(char)
   f('a');   // calls A::f(char);
}

With respect to functions in namespaces, if a set of local declarations and using declarations for a single name are given in a declarative region, they must all refer to the same entity, or they must all refer to functions.

// functions_in_namespaces1.cpp
// C2874 expected
namespace B {
    int i;
    void f(int);
    void f(double);
}

void g() {
    int i;
    using B::i;   // error: i declared twice
    void f(char);
    using B::f;   // ok: each f is a function
}

In the example above, the using B::i statement causes a second int i to be declared in the g() function. The using B::f statement does not conflict with the f(char) function because the function names introduced by B::f have different parameter types.

A local function declaration cannot have the same name and type as a function introduced by using declaration. For example:

// functions_in_namespaces2.cpp
// C2668 expected
namespace B {
    void f(int);
    void f(double);
}

namespace C {
    void f(int);
    void f(double);
    void f(char);
}

void h() {
    using B::f;          // introduces B::f(int) and B::f(double)
    using C::f;          // C::f(int), C::f(double), and C::f(char)
    f('h');              // calls C::f(char)
    f(1);                // C2668 ambiguous: B::f(int) or C::f(int)?
    void f(int);         // C2883 conflicts with B::f(int) and C::f(int)
}

With respect to inheritance, when a using declaration introduces a name from a base class into a derived class scope, member functions in the derived class override virtual member functions with the same name and argument types in the base class.

// using_declaration_inheritance1.cpp
#include <stdio.h>
struct B {
   virtual void f(int) {
      printf_s("In B::f(int)\n");
   }

   virtual void f(char) {
      printf_s("In B::f(char)\n");
   }

   void g(int) {
      printf_s("In B::g\n");
   }

   void h(int);
};

struct D : B {
   using B::f;
   void f(int) {   // ok: D::f(int) overrides B::f(int)
      printf_s("In D::f(int)\n");
   }

   using B::g;
   void g(char) {   // ok: there is no B::g(char)
      printf_s("In D::g(char)\n");
   }

   using B::h;
   void h(int) {}   // Note: D::h(int) hides non-virtual B::h(int)
};

void f(D* pd) {
   pd->f(1);   // calls D::f(int)
   pd->f('a');   // calls B::f(char)
   pd->g(1);   // calls B::g(int)
   pd->g('a');   // calls D::g(char)
}

int main() {
   D * myd = new D();
   f(myd);
}
In D::f(int) In B::f(char) In B::g In D::g(char)

All instances of a name mentioned in a using declaration must be accessible. In particular, if a derived class uses a using declaration to access a member of a base class, the member name must be accessible. If the name is that of an overloaded member function, then all functions named must be accessible.

See Member-Access Control, for more information on accessibility of members.

// using_declaration_inheritance2.cpp
// C2876 expected
class A {
private:
   void f(char);
public:
   void f(int);
protected:
   void g();
};

class B : public A {
   using A::f;   // C2876: A::f(char) is inaccessible
public:
   using A::g;   // B::g is a public synonym for A::g
};

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