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How To Learn Limits Of A Variable Type In C++

How To Learn Limits Of A Variable Type In C++

When there is a numerical value in an application’s development code, a professional programmer needs to understand which type of a variable should be used how big it could be in terms of capacity and memory usage. The developer must take into account what the minimum and maximum ranges could be. In most operations, the exact choice of variable might not be too important, but for larger numbers, it is often vital to understand the most appropriate choice to make to avoid overflow or errors where limits have been exceeded which can sometimes be difficult to track down. C++ is a great programming language that has many useful libraries and headers such as the <limits> header that helps developers to learn numerical limits of variables when the C++ compiler creates the program and it is run by the user.

In this post we explain how to use limits header to detect limits of some of the variables in C++.

What is the Limits <limits> Header in C++?

The Standard library header <limits> is a part of the type support library. There are 3 important declarations in the limits header, these are:

  • numeric_limits is a class template that provides an interface to query properties of all fundamental numeric types.
  • float_round_style is an enum that indicates floating-point rounding modes.
  • float_denorm_style is an enum that indicates floating-point denormalization modes.

How to learn limits of a variable type in C++

How to learn limits of a variable type in C++

The Standard library header <limits> has the numeric_limits template that can be used to learn limits of most of the arithmetic variable types in C++ like int, float, double, unsigned long int, etc. In other words, the std::numeric_limits class template provides a standardized way to learn various properties of arithmetic types, i.e you can learn the minimum and maximum value of a given type. This result is provided by the specializations of the std::numeric_limits template.

If you want to learn limits of an arithmetic variable type in C++, you must use numeric_limits template and its min() , max() methods to get minimum and maximum arithmetic values of this type.

Here is the syntax for the min() and max() methods of numeric_limits (since C++11)

for example you can learn limits of a unsigned int as below,

Is there a simple example of how to learn limits of a variable type in C++?

Here is a simple example of how to learn limits of a variable type in C++.

and the output will be,

while these limits are mostly in general, these may depend on your compiler, compiler version and the device type that you compile to use. Thus, these are useful methods to understand limits of your compiler in usage.

Is there a full example of how to learn limits of a variable type in C++?

Here is a full example, of how to learn limits of a variable type in C++.

and the output will be,

As we see in our runtime, this template is not compatible well in all types. Here, in the first step, we can not see numerical results of some types, i.e, char, unsigned char. It displays first and last chars. To avoid this, you can use this for the char types,

In general, it is very useful to detect limits of most of known arithmetic variable types. The std::numerical_limits template is very useful to query properties of all fundamental numeric types.

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About author

Dr. Yilmaz Yoru has 35+ years of coding with more than 30+ programming languages, mostly C++ on Windows, Android, Mac-OS, iOS, Linux, and some other operating systems. He graduated and received his MSc and PhD degrees from the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Eskisehir Osmangazi University. He is the founder and CEO of ESENJA LLC Company. His interests are Programming, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Artificial Intelligence, 2D & 3D Designs, and high-end innovations.
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