Abstract class in Java

A class which contains the abstract keyword in its declaration is known as abstract class.

  • Abstract classes may or may not contain abstract methods, i.e., methods without body ( public void get(); )
  • But, if a class has at least one abstract method, then the class must be declared abstract.
  • If a class is declared abstract, it cannot be instantiated.
  • To use an abstract class, you have to inherit it from another class, provide implementations of the abstract methods in it.
  • If you inherit an abstract class, you have to provide implementations to all the abstract methods in it.


This section provides you an example of the abstract class. To create an abstract class, just use the abstract keyword before the class keyword, in the class declaration.

/* File name : Employee.java */
public abstract class Employee {
   private String name; private String address; private int number;
   public Employee(String name, String address, int number) {
      System.out.println("Constructing an Employee");
      this.name = name; this.address = address;
      this.number = number;
   public double computePay() {
      System.out.println("Inside Employee computePay"); return 0.0;
   public void mailCheck() {
      System.out.println("Mailing a check to " + this.name + " " + this.address);
   public String toString() {
      return name + " " + address + " " + number;
   public String getName() {
      return name;
   public String getAddress() {
      return address;
   public void setAddress(String newAddress) {
      address = newAddress;
   public int getNumber() {
      return number;

You can observe that except abstract methods the Employee class is same as the normal class in Java. The class is now abstract, but it still has three fields, seven methods, and one constructor.

Now you can try to instantiate the Employee class in the following way − 

/* File name : AbstractDemo.java */
public class AbstractDemo {
   public static void main(String [] args) {
      /* Following is not allowed and would raise error */
      Employee e = new Employee("George W.", "Houston, TX", 43);
      System.out.println("\n Call mailCheck using Employee reference--");

When you compile the above class, it gives you the following error − 

Employee.java:46: Employee is abstract; cannot be instantiated
Employee e = new Employee("George W.", "Houston, TX", 43); ^ 1 error