C++ switch statement

A switch statement allows a variable to be tested for equality against a list of values. Each value is called a case, and the variable being switched on is checked for each case.


The syntax for a switch statement in C++ is as follows −

switch(expression) {
   case constant-expression  :
      break; //optional
   case constant-expression  :
      break; //optional
   // you can have any number of case statements.
   default : //Optional

The following rules apply to a switch statement −

  • The expression used in a switch statement must have an integral or enumerated type, or be of a class type in which the class has a single conversion function to an integral or enumerated type.

  • You can have any number of case statements within a switch. Each case is followed by the value to be compared to and a colon.

  • The constant-expression for a case must be the same data type as the variable in the switch, and it must be a constant or a literal.

  • When the variable being switched on is equal to a case, the statements following that case will execute until a break statement is reached.

  • When a break statement is reached, the switch terminates, and the flow of control jumps to the next line following the switch statement.

  • Not every case needs to contain a break. If no break appears, the flow of control will fall through to subsequent cases until a break is reached.

  • A switch statement can have an optional default case, which must appear at the end of the switch. The default case can be used for performing a task when none of the cases is true. No break is needed in the default case.

Flow Diagram

C++ switch statement


#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
int main () {
   // local variable declaration:
   char grade = 'D';

   switch(grade) {
      case 'A' :
         cout << "Excellent!" << endl; 
      case 'B' :
      case 'C' :
         cout << "Well done" << endl;
      case 'D' :
         cout << "You passed" << endl;
      case 'F' :
         cout << "Better try again" << endl;
      default :
         cout << "Invalid grade" << endl;
   cout << "Your grade is " << grade << endl;
   return 0;

This would produce the following result −

You passed
Your grade is D