Input/Output Operator Overloading in C++

Input/Output Operators Overloading in C++

What is Input/Output operator overloading in C++?

In C++, stream insertion operator “<< ” is used for output and stream extraction operator “>>” is used for input. The stream insertion and stream extraction operators also can be overloaded to perform input and output for user-defined types like an object.

Operator overloading is a type of polymorphism in which an operator is overloaded to give user defined meaning to it. Overloaded operator is used to perform operation on user-defined data type. In this article we will learn more about input/output operator overloading in C++. You can read more about operator overloading by clicking the button below.

Input/Output Operator Overloading in C++

As we know that cout is an object of ostream class and cin is an object istream class and it is important to make operator overloading function, a friend of the class because it would be called without creating an object i.e. the operators must be overloaded as a global function.

To  call  ‘<<‘ and ‘>>’ operator, we must call it like, ‘cout << obj1’ and ‘cin >> obj1’. So if we want to make them a member method, then they must be made members of ostream and istream classes, which is not a good option most of the time.

Therefore, these operators are overloaded as global functions with two parameters, cout and object of user defined class.

C++ program to show Input/Output Operator Overloading

using namespace std;
class Length 
      int kmeter;            
      int meter;           
      //default constructor.
         kmeter = 0;
         meter = 0;
      Length(int km, int m)//overloaded constructor. 
         kmeter = km;
         meter = m;
      //overloading '<<' operator.
      friend ostream &operator<<( ostream &output, const Length &l ) 
         output <<l.kmeter<< "Km "<<l.meter<<"M" ;
         return output;            
      //overloading '>>' operator.
      friend istream &operator>>( istream  &input, Length &l ) 
         input >> l.kmeter >> l.meter;
         return input;            

int main() {
   Length l1(1, 112), l2;

   cout << "Enter the value: " << endl; cin >> l2;
   cout << "First length: " << l1 << endl;
   cout << "Second length: " << l2 << endl;

   return 0;
Enter the value: 
First length : 1Km 112M
Second length :2Km 21M