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Pointer Data Type in C++

11 February, 2015 - 10:57

A pointer variable is a variable that holds the address of a memory location. 

Every variable is assigned a memory location whose address can be retrieved using the address operator &. The address of a memory location is called a pointer. 1

The pointer data type allows us to designate a variable to hold an address or a pointer. The concept of an address and a pointer are one in the same. A pointer points to the location in memory because the value of a pointer is the address were the data item resides in the memory. Given an integer variable named age:

int age = 47; 

We can create a pointer variable and establish its value which would be the done using the address operator [which is the ampersand or &] by:

int * int pointer = &age; 

The asterisk is used to designate that the variable int pointer is an integer pointer [int *]. This means that whenever we use the variable int pointer that the compiler will know that it is a pointer that points to an integer.

In order to use pointers you will need to understand the indirection operator which is covered a supplemental link.