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Features and Use of Pointers in C/C++

  • Difficulty Level : Basic
  • Last Updated : 03 Jun, 2019

Pointers store address of variables or a memory location.

Syntax:

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datatype *var_name; 

Example: pointer “ptr” holds address of an integer variable or holds address of a memory whose value(s) can be accessed as integer values through “ptr”

int *ptr;  

Features of Pointers:

  1. Pointers save memory space.
  2. Execution time with pointers is faster because data are manipulated with the address, that is, direct access to
    memory location.
  3. Memory is accessed efficiently with the pointers. The pointer assigns and releases the memory as well. Hence it can be said the Memory of pointers is dynamically allocated.
  4. Pointers are used with data structures. They are useful for representing two-dimensional and multi-dimensional
    arrays.
  5. An array, of any type can be accessed with the help of pointers, without considering its subscript range.
  6. Pointers are used for file handling.
  7. Pointers are used to allocate memory dynamically.
  8. In C++, a pointer declared to a base class could access the object of a derived class. However, a pointer to a derived class cannot access the object of a base class.

Uses of pointers:

  1. To pass arguments by reference
  2. For accessing array elements
  3. To return multiple values
  4. Dynamic memory allocation
  5. To implement data structures
  6. To do system level programming where memory addresses are useful
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