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Structures (struct) in C Programming

Updated on May 28, 2012

C Structure Introduction

We used variable in our C program to store value but one variable can store only single piece information (an integer can hold only one integer value) and to store similar type of values we had to declare many variables. To overcome this problem we used array which can hold numbers of similar data type. But array too have some limitations, like in our real world application we deal with set of dissimilar data types and single array cannot store dissimilar data.

For example think about storing book information or product information, a product can have different information to store like product code (an integer), product name (a char array), product price (a float) etc. And to store 20 products information we can declare integer array for product code, 2D character array for storing product name and float array to store product price. This approach definitely achieves your goals, but try to consider these things too. What if you wanted to add more products than 20, what if you want to add more information on products like stock, discount, tax etc? It will become difficult to differentiate these variables with other variables declared for calculation etc.

To solve this problem C language has a unique data type called Structure. C structure is nothing but collection of different related data types. If we are using C structure then we are combining different related data types in one group so that we can use and manage those variables easily. Here related data type means, a structure holding information about book will contains variable and array related to book. 

Syntax for C Structure declaration

struct structure_name
{
data type member1;
data type member2;


};

Example:

struct products
{
char name[20];
int stock;
float price;
};

So structure declaration begins with struct keyword and with a space we need to provide a structure name. Within open and closed curly braces we can declare required and related variable, you can see it in our example structure declaration. And most important point to remember in case of C structure is that it ends with semicolon (;).

Let’s have a complete example of structure in C language.

Example of C structure

#include<stdio.h>
#include<conio.h>

struct product
	{
	char name[30];
	int stock;
	float price, dis;
	};

void main()
{

	 struct product p1 ={"Apple iPod Touch 32GB", 35,298.56, 2.32};
	 clrscr();
	 printf("Name=%s,\nStock=%d,\nPrice=$%.2f,\nDiscount=%.2f%.", p1.name, p1.stock, p1.price,p1.dis);
	 getch();
}

Code Explanation

So line no.4-9 declares a C structure named “product”, this structure contains four variables to store different information about product. In the beginning there is a character array (char name[30]) which stores name of the product, next we have integer variable (int stock) to store stock of product and last two variable are float type (float price, discount) to product price & discount on product respectively.

Guys we just declared product structure and now we have to use it in main(). Line no. 14 declares a product type variable p1. Here product type variable means, in our C program product is a structure and to use that structure we need to create its variable. Declaring a product structure variable is simple just use following syntax:

struct structure_name variable_name;

Remember struct is a C keyword, “structure_name” is name of structure you used while declaring a C structure (in above C program its product) and “variable_name” could be any name of your choice (in above C program its p1) but standard naming convention applies.

Along with declaring C structure variable p1 we have also initialized it and to initialize C structure you need to assign values in proper order. Proper order means assign value in the order they are declared in structure. For example, in our product structure we declare variable in following orders:

char name[30];
int stock;
float price, discount;

So for this structure proper order will be:

char name[30];
int stock;
float price;
float discount;

You don’t need to rewrite your structure, you just need to keep it in mind that structure variable initialization should be performed in orderly manner (top – bottom and left – right manner) otherwise it will show error or you may get strange output.

So in above program we have initialized p1 variable in following way:

struct product p1 ={"Apple iPod Touch 32GB", 35, 298.56, 2.32}; means

struct product p1 ={char name[30], int stock, float price, float discount}; //this line of code is only assumption.

Next in line no. 16 we just printed the values stores in product structure. You cannot print values stored in product structure member variable (like name, stock etc.) directly, you have to link member variable with structure variable and you can do this using (.) dot operator. For example: character array name is unknown to main() because it is declared in structure product, so to access member variable we will follow the following syntax:

structure_variable.member_variable;

Example:

p1.name;

We can rewrite printf("Name=%s,\nStock=%d,\nPrice=$%.2f,\nDiscount=%.2f%.", p1.name, p1.stock, p1.price,p1.discount); in the following manner:

printf(“Name = %s”,p1.name);
printf(“Stock = %d”,p1.stock);
printf(“Price = $%.2f”,p1.price);
printf(“Stock = %.2f”,p1.discount);

Here is full working code sample of C Structure.

#include<stdio.h>
#include<conio.h>

struct product
	{
	char name[30];
	int stock;
	float price, discount;
	};

void main()
{

	 struct product p1 ={"Apple iPod Touch 32GB", 35,298.56, 2.32};
	 clrscr();
	 printf("Name    = %s\n",p1.name);
	 printf("Stock   = %d\n",p1.stock);
	 printf("Price   = %.2f\n",p1.price);
	 printf("Discount= %.2f\n",p1.discount);
	 getch();
}

I hope this will help you understand C Structure, we will see more C structure example code in my next tutorial. If you have any question regarding this topic please drop comment. Thanks for dropping in.

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    • profile image

      Sofie Norberts 5 years ago

      great Structure tutorials

    • rajkishor09 profile image
      Author

      RAJKISHOR SAHU 5 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA

    • profile image

      rachel domingo 5 years ago

      how can i create a program .. f i am a begginer?can u help me to develop my knowledge in programming/

    • profile image

      shab 5 years ago

      great

    • profile image

      manzoor samejo 5 years ago

      arrays

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      sukhraj johal(moga) 5 years ago

      thnks for this tutorial...................sir.thnks 1 again....................

    • Java Programs profile image

      Java Programs 5 years ago from India

      Wow ... very much simple and readable ... i have bookmarked it for the future reference also. Great job ... keep the good work up ....

    • profile image

      minahilpari26@gmail.com 5 years ago

      fit

      suprereb defination of c language

    • profile image

      kaifi 5 years ago

      great

    • profile image

      suvarna 5 years ago

      i want variable explanation

    • profile image

      MANINDER SINGH 6 years ago

      NIC 1

    • profile image

      akhil 6 years ago

      its really great nd gud to have dis helped me a lot......

    • profile image

      HP C4092A Cartridge 6 years ago

      Nice tutorials, i bookmarked it for future references. I will also recommend this to my friends.

    • profile image

      sree 6 years ago

      greate ....i never seen before like this simple tutorial....

    • profile image

      njumudeen 6 years ago

      Thnks for this tutorial,visit

    • sambaran08 profile image

      sambaran08 7 years ago from India

      Thnks for this tutorial,visit

      https://hubpages.com/technology/Cnet

      and follow me

    • profile image

      sonia 7 years ago

      nice tutorial.thnx for such tutorial.

    • profile image

      Pawan kumar 7 years ago

      i am very like you

    • biggig profile image

      biggig 7 years ago from India

      that was just great.. but still..i would love if you recommend a book for me... i have been reading let us c but seems it still not a able to understand it

    • rajkishor09 profile image
      Author

      RAJKISHOR SAHU 7 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA

      yes a structure can have more than one structure variable just like we create variable of int, char, float etc.

      More advance topic on structure is here: https://hubpages.com/technology/Arrays-of-Structur...

    • profile image

      madhura 7 years ago

      can a structure have more than one structure variable