# Implementationdefined behavior
# Size of integral types
The following types are defined as integral types:
char
 Signed integer types
 Unsigned integer types
char16_t
andchar32_t
bool
wchar_t
With the exception of sizeof(char)
/ sizeof(signed char)
/ sizeof(unsigned char)
, which is split between § 3.9.1.1 [basic.fundamental/1] and § 5.3.3.1 [expr.sizeof], and sizeof(bool)
, which is entirely implementationdefined and has no minimum size, the minimum size requirements of these types are given in section § 3.9.1 [basic.fundamental] of the standard, and shall be detailed below.
# Size of char
All versions of the C++ standard specify, in § 5.3.3.1, that sizeof
yields 1
for unsigned char
, signed char
, and char
(it is implementation defined whether the char
type is signed
or unsigned
).
char
is large enough to represent 256 different values, to be suitable for storing UTF8 code units.
# Size of signed and unsigned integer types
The standard specifies, in § 3.9.1.2, that in the list of standard signed integer types, consisting of signed char
, short int
, int
, long int
, and long long int
, each type will provide at least as much storage as those preceding it in the list. Furthermore, as specified in § 3.9.1.3, each of these types has a corresponding standard unsigned integer type, unsigned char
, unsigned short int
, unsigned int
, unsigned long int
, and unsigned long long int
, which has the same size and alignment as its corresponding signed type. Additionally, as specified in § 3.9.1.1, char
has the same size and alignment requirements as both signed char
and unsigned char
.
Prior to C++11, long long
and unsigned long long
were not officially part of the C++ standard. However, after their introduction to C, in C99, many compilers supported long long
as an extended signed integer type, and unsigned long long
as an extended unsigned integer type, with the same rules as the C types.
The standard thus guarantees that:
1 == sizeof(char) == sizeof(signed char) == sizeof(unsigned char)
<= sizeof(short) == sizeof(unsigned short)
<= sizeof(int) == sizeof(unsigned int)
<= sizeof(long) == sizeof(unsigned long)
<= sizeof(long long) == sizeof(unsigned long long)
Specific minimum sizes for each type are not given by the standard. Instead, each type has a minimum range of values it can support, which is, as specified in § 3.9.1.3, inherited from the C standard, in §5.2.4.2.1. The minimum size of each type can be roughly inferred from this range, by determining the minimum number of bits required; note that for any given platform, any type's actual supported range may be larger than the minimum. Note that for signed types, ranges correspond to one's complement, not the more commonly used two's complement; this is to allow a wider range of platforms to comply with the standard.
Type  Minimum range  Minimum bits required  

signed char  127 to 127 ((2^{7}  1) to (2^{7}  1))  8  
unsigned char  0 to 255 (0 to 2^{8}  1)  8  
signed short  32,767 to 32,767 ((2^{15}  1) to (2^{15}  1))  16  
unsigned short  0 to 65,535 (0 to 2^{16}  1)  16  
signed int  32,767 to 32,767 ((2^{15}  1) to (2^{15}  1))  16  
unsigned int  0 to 65,535 (0 to 2^{16}  1)  16  
signed long  2,147,483,647 to 2,147,483,647 ((2^{31}  1) to (2^{31}  1))  32  
unsigned long  0 to 4,294,967,295 (0 to 2^{32}  1)  32 
Type  Minimum range  Minimum bits required  

signed long long  9,223,372,036,854,775,807 to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 ((2^{63}  1) to (2^{63}  1))  64  
unsigned long long  0 to 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 (0 to 2^{64}  1)  64 
As each type is allowed to be greater than its minimum size requirement, types may differ in size between implementations. The most notable example of this is with the 64bit data models LP64 and LLP64, where LLP64 systems (such as 64bit Windows) have 32bit ints
and long
s, and LP64 systems (such as 64bit Linux) have 32bit int
s and 64bit long
s. Due to this, integer types cannot be assumed to have a fixed width across all platforms.
If integer types with fixed width are required, use types from the <cstdint>
(opens new window) header, but note that the standard makes it optional for implementations to support the exactwidth types int8_t
, int16_t
, int32_t
, int64_t
, intptr_t
, uint8_t
, uint16_t
, uint32_t
, uint64_t
and uintptr_t
.
# Size of char16_t
and char32_t
The sizes of char16_t
and char32_t
are implementationdefined, as specified in § 5.3.3.1, with the stipulations given in § 3.9.1.5:
# Size of bool
The size of bool
is implementation defined, and may or may not be 1
.
# Size of wchar_t
wchar_t
, as specified in § 3.9.1.5, is a distinct type, whose range of values can represent every distinct code unit of the largest extended character set among the supported locales. It has the same size, signedness, and alignment as one of the other integral types, which is known as its underlying type. This type's size is implementationdefined, as specified in § 5.3.3.1, and may be, for example, at least 8, 16, or 32 bits; if a system supports Unicode, for example, wchar_t
is required to be at least 32 bits (an exception to this rule is Windows, where wchar_t
is 16 bits for compatibility purposes). It is inherited from the C90 standard, ISO 9899:1990 § 4.1.5, with only minor rewording.
Depending on the implementation, the size of wchar_t
is often, but not always, 8, 16, or 32 bits. The most common examples of these are:
 In Unix and Unixlike systems,
wchar_t
is 32bit, and is usually used for UTF32.  In Windows,
wchar_t
is 16bit, and is used for UTF16.  On a system which only has 8bit support,
wchar_t
is 8 bit.
If Unicode support is desired, it is recommended to use char
for UTF8, char16_t
for UTF16, or char32_t
for UTF32, instead of using wchar_t
.
# Data Models
As mentioned above, the widths of integer types can differ between platforms. The most common models are as follows, with sizes specified in bits:
Model  int  long  pointer 

LP32 (2/4/4)  16  32  32 
ILP32 (4/4/4)  32  32  32 
LLP64 (4/4/8)  32  32  64 
LP64 (4/8/8)  32  64  64 
Out of these models:
 16bit Windows used LP32.
 32bit *nix systems (Unix, Linux, Mac OSX, and other Unixlike OSes) and Windows use ILP32.
 64bit Windows uses LLP64.
 64bit *nix systems use LP64.
Note, however, that these models aren't specifically mentioned in the standard itself.
# Char might be unsigned or signed
The standard doesn't specify if char
should be signed or unsigned. Different compilers implement it differently, or might allow to change it using a command line switch.
# Number of bits in a byte
In C++, a byte is the space occupied by a char
object. The number of bits in a byte is given by CHAR_BIT
, which is defined in climits
and required to be at least 8. While most modern systems have 8bit bytes, and POSIX requires CHAR_BIT
to be exactly 8, there are some systems where CHAR_BIT
is greater than 8 i.e a single byte may be comprised of 8, 16, 32 or 64 bits.
# Numeric value of a pointer
The result of casting a pointer to an integer using reinterpret_cast
is implementationdefined, but "... is intended to be unsurprising to those who know the addressing structure of the underlying machine."
int x = 42;
int* p = &x;
long addr = reinterpret_cast<long>(p);
std::cout << addr << "\n"; // prints some numeric address,
// probably in the architecture's native address format
Likewise, the pointer obtained by conversion from an integer is also implementationdefined.
The right way to store a pointer as an integer is using the uintptr_t
or intptr_t
types:
// `uintptr_t` was not in C++03. It's in C99, in <stdint.h>, as an optional type
#include <stdint.h>
uintptr_t uip;
// There is an optional `std::uintptr_t` in C++11
#include <cstdint>
std::uintptr_t uip;
C++11 refers to C99 for the definition uintptr_t
(C99 standard, 6.3.2.3):
an unsigned integer type with the property that any valid pointer to void
can be converted to this type, then converted back to pointer to void
, and the result will compare equal to the original pointer.
While, for the majority of modern platforms, you can assume a flat address space and that arithmetic on uintptr_t
is equivalent to arithmetic on char *
, it's entirely possible for an implementation to perform any transformation when casting void *
to uintptr_t
as long the transformation can be reversed when casting back from uintptr_t
to void *
.
Technicalities
All function pointer types shall have the same representation as the type pointer to void. Conversion of a function pointer to void * shall not alter the representation. A void * value resulting from such a conversion can be converted back to the original function pointer type, using an explicit cast, without loss of information.
When typedef names differing only in the absence or presence of the initial u are defined, they shall denote corresponding signed and unsigned types as described in 6.2.5; an implementation providing one of these corresponding types shall also provide the other.`uintptr_t` might make sense if you want to do things to the bits of the pointer that you can't do as sensibly with a signed integer.
When typedef names differing only in the absence or presence of the initial u are defined, they shall denote corresponding signed and unsigned types as described in 6.2.5; an implementation providing one of these corresponding types shall also provide the other.
# Ranges of numeric types
The ranges of the integer types are implementationdefined. The header <limits>
provides the std::numeric_limits<T>
template which provides the minimum and maximum values of all fundamental types. The values satisfy guarantees provided by the C standard through the <climits>
and (>= C++11) <cinttypes>
headers.
std::numeric_limits<signed char>::min()
equalsSCHAR_MIN
, which is less than or equal to 127.std::numeric_limits<signed char>::max()
equalsSCHAR_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 127.std::numeric_limits<unsigned char>::max()
equalsUCHAR_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 255.std::numeric_limits<short>::min()
equalsSHRT_MIN
, which is less than or equal to 32767.std::numeric_limits<short>::max()
equalsSHRT_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 32767.std::numeric_limits<unsigned short>::max()
equalsUSHRT_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 65535.std::numeric_limits<int>::min()
equalsINT_MIN
, which is less than or equal to 32767.std::numeric_limits<int>::max()
equalsINT_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 32767.std::numeric_limits<unsigned int>::max()
equalsUINT_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 65535.std::numeric_limits<long>::min()
equalsLONG_MIN
, which is less than or equal to 2147483647.std::numeric_limits<long>::max()
equalsLONG_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 2147483647.std::numeric_limits<unsigned long>::max()
equalsULONG_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 4294967295.std::numeric_limits<long long>::min()
equalsLLONG_MIN
, which is less than or equal to 9223372036854775807.std::numeric_limits<long long>::max()
equalsLLONG_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 9223372036854775807.std::numeric_limits<unsigned long long>::max()
equalsULLONG_MAX
, which is greater than or equal to 18446744073709551615.
For floatingpoint types T
, max()
is the maximum finite value while min()
is the minimum positive normalized value. Additional members are provided for floatingpoint types, which are also implementationdefined but satisfy certain guarantees provided by the C standard through the <cfloat>
header.

 `std::numeric_limits
std::numeric_limits<float>::min_exponent10
equalsFLT_MIN_10_EXP
, which is at most 37.std::numeric_limits<double>::min_exponent10
equalsDBL_MIN_10_EXP
, which is at most 37.std::numeric_limits<long double>::min_exponent10
equalsLDBL_MIN_10_EXP
, which is at most 37.
std::numeric_limits<float>::max_exponent10
equals FLT_MIN_10_EXP
, which is at least 37.
std::numeric_limits<double>::max_exponent10
equals DBL_MIN_10_EXP
, which is at least 37.
std::numeric_limits<long double>::max_exponent10
equals LDBL_MIN_10_EXP
, which is at least 37.
# Value representation of floating point types
The standard requires that long double
provides at least as much precision as double
, which provides at least as much precision as float
; and that a long double
can represent any value that a double
can represent, while a double
can represent any value that a float
can represent. The details of the representation are, however, implementationdefined.
For a floating point type T
, std::numeric_limits<T>::radix
specifies the radix used by the representation of T
.
If std::numeric_limits<T>::is_iec559
is true, then the representation of T
matches one of the formats defined by IEC 559 / IEEE 754.
# Overflow when converting from integer to signed integer
When either a signed or unsigned integer is converted to a signed integer type, and its value is not representable in the destination type, the value produced is implementationdefined. Example:
// Suppose that on this implementation, the range of signed char is 128 to +127 and
// the range of unsigned char is 0 to 255
int x = 12345;
signed char sc = x; // sc has an implementationdefined value
unsigned char uc = x; // uc is initialized to 57 (i.e., 12345 modulo 256)
# Underlying type (and hence size) of an enum
If the underlying type is not explicitly specified for an unscoped enumeration type, it is determined in an implementationdefined manner.
enum E {
RED,
GREEN,
BLUE,
};
using T = std::underlying_type<E>::type; // implementationdefined
However, the standard does require the underlying type of an enumeration to be no larger than int
unless both int
and unsigned int
are unable to represent all the values of the enumeration. Therefore, in the above code, T
could be int
, unsigned int
, or short
, but not long long
, to give a few examples.
Note that an enum has the same size (as returned by sizeof
) as its underlying type.