Pointers In C


Pointers Definition :

Pointers in C language are is nothing but sort of like a variable which works like a locator/indicator to an address values (hence the name pointer).It helps in reducing the code and returning multiple values from a function.


Pointer in C

Syntax Of Pointers In C :

datatype * var_name;

The * operator creates a pointer variable, which points to a data type (like an int) of the same type.The pointer is given the address of the variable you are working with.

Pointers in C

Example :

In the below example, pointer is the address of the variable while *pointer and val print the value of the variable

#include <stdio.h> 
int main()
	int val   = 40;  
	int* pointer;     // declaration of pointer

	pointer = &val;

	printf("1. Value at pointer = %p \n", pointer);
	printf("2. Value at val = %d \n", val);
	printf("3. Value at *pointer = %d \n", *pointer);
	return 0;

Output :

1. Value at pointer = 0x7fff0bf90d7c
2. Value at val = 40
3. Value at *pointer = 40

Uses of Pointers :

  • to pass references for arguments
  • In order to access array items
  • numerous values to be returned
  • Allocating memory dynamically
  • Data structures can be implemented easily.
  • Very easy to access memory address by Pointers.

Pointer Arithmetic :

Arithmetic of Pointers is different from integer. The following arithmetic of pointer are :

  • Increment/Decrement of Pointer.
  • Addition/ subtraction of integer to a Pointer.

Example :

In the below program, pointers are used to print the value of array elements.


int main()
	int arr[4] = { 10, 20, 30, 40 };
	int* ptr;

	ptr = arr;
	printf("Elements of the array are: ");
	printf("%d, %d, %d, %d",ptr[0],ptr[1],ptr[2], ptr[3]);

	return 0;

Output :

Elements of the array are: 10, 20, 30, 40

Advantages of Pointers in C :

  • Arrays can be easily accessed by pointers.
  • Memory locations can be easily accessed by pointers.
  • Complex data structures can be easily built by the pointers.

Disadvantages of Pointers in C :

  • Pointers are hard to understand.
  • Pointers are slower than variable in C.

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