C Library - <limits.h>

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Introduction

The limits.h header determines various properties of the various variable types. The macros defined in this header limits the values of various variable types like char, int and long.

These limits specify that a variable can not store any value beyond these limits, for example an unsigned character can store upto a maximum value of 255.

Library Macros

The following values are implementation-specific and defined with the #define directive, but these values may not be any lower than what is given here.

MacroValueDescription
CHAR_BIT 8Defines the number of bits in a byte.
SCHAR_MIN-128Defines the minimum value for a signed char.
SCHAR_MAX127Defines the maximum value for a signed char.
UCHAR_MAX 255Defines the maximum value for an unsigned char.
CHAR_MIN0Defines the minimum value for type char and its value will be equal to SCHAR_MIN if char represents negative values otherwise zero.
CHAR_MAX127Defines the value for type char and its value will be equal to SCHAR_MAX if char represents negative values otherwise UCHAR_MAX
MB_LEN_MAX 1Defines the maximum number of bytes in a multibyte character.
SHRT_MIN-32768Defines the minimum value for a short int.
SHRT_MAX +32767Defines the maximum value for a short int.
USHRT_MAX 65535Defines the maximum value for an unsigned short int.
INT_MIN -32768Defines the minimum value for an int.
INT_MAX +32767Defines the maximum value for an int.
UINT_MAX65535Defines the maximum value for an unsigned int.
LONG_MIN -2147483648Defines the minimum value for a long int.
LONG_MAX +2147483647Defines the maximum value for a long int.
ULONG_MAX 4294967295Defines the maximum value for an unsigned long int.

Example

The following example shows the usage of few of the constants defined in limit.h file.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <limits.h>

int main()
{

   printf("The number of bits in a byte %d\n", CHAR_BIT);

   printf("The minimum value of SIGNED CHAR = %d\n", SCHAR_MIN);
   printf("The maximum value of SIGNED CHAR = %d\n", SCHAR_MAX);
   printf("The maximum value of UNSIGNED CHAR = %d\n", UCHAR_MAX);

   printf("The minimum value of SHORT INT = %d\n", SHRT_MIN);
   printf("The maximum value of SHORT INT = %d\n", SHRT_MAX); 

   printf("The minimum value of INT = %d\n", INT_MIN);
   printf("The maximum value of INT = %d\n", INT_MAX);

   printf("The minimum value of CHAR = %d\n", CHAR_MIN);
   printf("The maximum value of CHAR = %d\n", CHAR_MAX);

   printf("The minimum value of LONG = %ld\n", LONG_MIN);
   printf("The maximum value of LONG = %ld\n", LONG_MAX);
  
   return(0);
}

Let us compile and run the above program, this will produce the following result:

The number of bits in a byte 8
The minimum value of SIGNED CHAR = -128
The maximum value of SIGNED CHAR = 127
The maximum value of UNSIGNED CHAR = 255
The minimum value of SHORT INT = -32768
The maximum value of SHORT INT = 32767
The minimum value of INT = -32768
The maximum value of INT = 32767
The minimum value of CHAR = -128
The maximum value of CHAR = 127
The minimum value of LONG = -2147483648
The maximum value of LONG = 2147483647


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