The ‘short’ Keyword in C Programming

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In the realm of C programming, the ‘short’ keyword plays a vital role in optimizing memory usage and variable declarations. This article delves into the ‘short’ keyword, explaining its purpose, usage, and real-world examples with outputs. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to leverage ‘short’ in your C programs.

Purpose of the ‘short’ Keyword

The ‘short’ keyword in C is primarily used to declare integer variables that require less memory storage than the standard ‘int’ data type. It is especially useful when memory conservation is critical, such as in embedded systems or when dealing with large arrays of numbers.

Usage of the ‘short’ Keyword

To declare a ‘short’ integer variable, simply use the ‘short’ keyword followed by the variable name. Here’s a basic example:

short temperature;

In this case, we’ve declared a ‘short’ integer variable named ‘temperature,’ which will occupy less memory compared to a standard ‘int’ variable.

Example 1: Using ‘short’ for Temperature Readings

Let’s consider a scenario where you are monitoring temperature readings in a weather station, and memory optimization is essential. Using ‘short’ can help in conserving memory:

#include <stdio.h>
int main() {
    short temperature1 = 25;
    short temperature2 = -10;
    printf("Temperature 1: %hd\n", temperature1);
    printf("Temperature 2: %hd\n", temperature2);
    return 0;

In this example, we’ve declared two ‘short’ integer variables, ‘temperature1’ and ‘temperature2,’ to store temperature readings. The %hd format specifier is used to print ‘short’ integers.


Temperature 1: 25
Temperature 2: -10

You can see that the ‘short’ keyword effectively handles temperature data while conserving memory.

Example 2: Using ‘short’ in an Array

Another common use case for the ‘short’ keyword is when dealing with arrays of integers. Let’s create an array of ‘short’ integers to store sensor readings:

#include <stdio.h>
int main() {
    short sensorReadings[5] = {1024, 512, 768, 256, 640};
    printf("Sensor Readings:\n");
    for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
        printf("Reading %d: %hd\n", i + 1, sensorReadings[i]);
    return 0;

Here, we’ve declared an array of ‘short’ integers, ‘sensorReadings,’ to store sensor data. The program prints each sensor reading with its corresponding index.


Sensor Readings:
Reading 1: 1024
Reading 2: 512
Reading 3: 768
Reading 4: 256
Reading 5: 640
Author: user