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11.1.1 Basic Integers

Integer data types in C can be signed or unsigned. An unsigned type can represent only positive numbers and zero. A signed type can represent both positive and negative numbers, in a range spread almost equally on both sides of zero.

Aside from signedness, the integer data types vary in size: how many bytes long they are. The size determines how many different integer values the type can hold.

Here’s a list of the signed integer data types, with the sizes they have on most computers. Each has a corresponding unsigned type; see Signed and Unsigned Types.

signed char

One byte (8 bits). This integer type is used mainly for integers that represent characters, as part of arrays or other data structures.

short int

Two bytes (16 bits).


Four bytes (32 bits).

long int

Four bytes (32 bits) or eight bytes (64 bits), depending on the platform. Typically it is 32 bits on 32-bit computers and 64 bits on 64-bit computers, but there are exceptions.

long long
long long int

Eight bytes (64 bits). Supported in GNU C in the 1980s, and incorporated into standard C as of ISO C99.

You can omit int when you use long or short. This is harmless and customary.