Bitwise Operators in C

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The Bitwise operators supported by C language are listed in the following table. Assume variable A holds 60 and variable B holds 13, then:

OperatorDescriptionExample
& Binary AND Operator copies a bit to the result if it exists in both operands. (A & B) will give 12 which is 0000 1100
| Binary OR Operator copies a bit if it exists in either operand. (A | B) will give 61 which is 0011 1101
^ Binary XOR Operator copies the bit if it is set in one operand but not both. (A ^ B) will give 49 which is 0011 0001
~ Binary Ones Complement Operator is unary and has the effect of 'flipping' bits. (~A ) will give -61 which is 1100 0011 in 2's complement form due to a signed binary number.
<< Binary Left Shift Operator. The left operands value is moved left by the number of bits specified by the right operand. A << 2 will give 240 which is 1111 0000
>> Binary Right Shift Operator. The left operands value is moved right by the number of bits specified by the right operand. A >> 2 will give 15 which is 0000 1111

Example

Try the following example to understand all the bitwise operators available in C programming language:

#include <stdio.h>

main()
{

   unsigned int a = 60;	/* 60 = 0011 1100 */  
   unsigned int b = 13;	/* 13 = 0000 1101 */
   int c = 0;           

   c = a & b;       /* 12 = 0000 1100 */ 
   printf("Line 1 - Value of c is %d\n", c );

   c = a | b;       /* 61 = 0011 1101 */
   printf("Line 2 - Value of c is %d\n", c );

   c = a ^ b;       /* 49 = 0011 0001 */
   printf("Line 3 - Value of c is %d\n", c );

   c = ~a;          /*-61 = 1100 0011 */
   printf("Line 4 - Value of c is %d\n", c );

   c = a << 2;     /* 240 = 1111 0000 */
   printf("Line 5 - Value of c is %d\n", c );

   c = a >> 2;     /* 15 = 0000 1111 */
   printf("Line 6 - Value of c is %d\n", c );
}

When you compile and execute the above program it produces the following result:

Line 1 - Value of c is 12
Line 2 - Value of c is 61
Line 3 - Value of c is 49
Line 4 - Value of c is -61
Line 5 - Value of c is 240
Line 6 - Value of c is 15


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