What are Character Literals in C++?

A character literal is a type of literal in programming for the representation of a single character's value within the source code of a computer program.

In C++, A character literal is composed of a constant character. It is represented by the character surrounded by single quotation marks. There are two kinds of character literals −

  • Narrow-character literals of type char, for example 'a'
  • Wide-character literals of type wchar_t, for example L'a'

The character used for a character literal may be any graphic character, except for reserved characters such as newline ('\n'), backslash ('\'), single quotation mark ('), and double quotation mark ("). Reserved characters are be specified with an escape sequence. For example,


#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

int main() {
   char newline = '\n';
   char tab = '\t';
   char backspace = '\b';
   char backslash = '\';
   char nullChar = '\0';

   cout << "Newline character: " << newline << "ending" << endl;
   cout << "Tab character: " << tab << "ending" << endl;
   cout << "Backspace character: " << backspace << "ending" << endl;
   cout << "Backslash character: " << backslash << "ending" << endl;
   cout << "Null character: " << nullChar << "ending" << endl;


This gives the output −

Newline character:  ending
Tab character:  ending
Backspace character:  ending
Backslash character: \ending
Null character:  ending