Character Arithmetic In C and C++

Character Arithmetic In C and C++

Character arithmetic in C and C++ is all about doing math with letters and symbols. Even though characters are usually used for text, they’re actually like numbers underneath. This means you can add, subtract, or work with characters in some interesting ways. In this discussion, we’ll explore how you can use characters in C and C++ to do calculations and learn how these languages handle characters behind the scenes. Understanding character arithmetic can open up new possibilities in your programming and give you insights into how characters are used in these languages.

What is Character Arithmetic

Character arithmetic in C and C++ is a technique used to perform arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division on characters. To accomplish this, characters are converted into their corresponding integer values using ASCII values. This approach is particularly useful when manipulating strings or characters within these programming languages. It allows for mathematical operations on characters by treating them as numbers, enabling various text-processing tasks and calculations.


// C program to demonstrate character arithmetic.
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
    char ch1 = 125, ch2 = 10;
    ch1 = ch1 + ch2;
    printf("%d\n", ch1);
    printf("%c\n", ch1 - ch2 - 4);
    return 0;



In C and C++ format specifiers %d are used to print integer values and %c is used to print character values. However, it’s important to note that %c the specifier interprets the provided integer as the ASCII code of a character. ASCII codes typically range from 0 to 127 for standard characters, representing letters, numbers, symbols, and control characters.

Therefore, when using %c, if you provide an integer value greater than 127, it may not represent a valid ASCII character, and the printed result may not be what you expect. It could display a special character, control code, or be undefined behavior, depending on the system and compiler.

So, it’s important to ensure that when you use %c, the integer value you provide corresponds to a valid ASCII character code within the range of 0 to 127 for consistent and expected results in your C and C++ programs.


// A C++ program to demonstrate character
// arithmetic in C++.
#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;
int main()
    char ch = 65;
    cout << ch << endl;
    cout << ch + 0 << endl;
    cout << char(ch + 32) << endl;
    return 0;



You’ve made an accurate observation regarding character arithmetic in C and C++. When you use the + operator with character values, the behavior can vary based on whether it’s used alone or with other numeric values.

Example :3

#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;
// driver code
int main(){
    char value1 = 'a';
    char value2 = 'b';
    char value3 = 'z';
    // perform character arithmetic
    char num1 = value1 + 3;
    char num2 = value2 - 1;
    char num3 = value3 + 2;
    // print value
      cout<<"numerical value = "<<(int)num1<<endl;
      cout<<"numerical value = "<<(int)num2<<endl;
      cout<<"numerical value = "<<(int)num3<<endl;
    return 0;


numerical value=100  
numerical value=97
numerical value=124


#include <stdio.h>
int main() {
  char a = 'A';
  char b = 'B';
  printf("a = %c\n", a);
  printf("b = %c\n", b);
  printf("a + b = %c\n", a + b);
  return 0;


a = A
b = B
a + b = â


In this program, two character variables ‘a’ and ‘b’ are assigned the values ‘A’ and ‘B’, respectively. The program adds ‘a’ and ‘b’ using character arithmetic, resulting in the character ‘â’. This happens because characters are treated as integers based on their ASCII code values. For example, ‘A’ has an ASCII code of 65, and ‘B’ has a code of 66, so adding them together (65 + 66) gives 131, which corresponds to ‘â’ in ASCII. The result is printed using the printf() function.

FAQ – Character Arithmetic In C and C++

Q1. What is character arithmetic?

Ans. Character arithmetic in C is a technique used to perform operations like addition and subtraction on characters. It’s especially useful for manipulating strings. When you perform arithmetic operations on characters, the C language automatically converts them into their corresponding integer values, which are the ASCII values of those characters. This allows you to work with characters as if they were integers, enabling various text-processing tasks.

Q2. What are the arithmetic data types in C?

Ans. In C, you can use basic arithmetic type specifiers and modifiers to specify various data types with different storage sizes. These include char, int, float, and double, along with modifiers like signed, unsigned, short, and long.

Q3. What is the character type size in C?

Ans. Both signed char and unsigned char in C and C++ always have a size of 1 byte. A signed char can hold values in the range of -128 to +127, while an unsigned char can hold values from 0 to 255.

Hridhya Manoj

Hello, I’m Hridhya Manoj. I’m passionate about technology and its ever-evolving landscape. With a deep love for writing and a curious mind, I enjoy translating complex concepts into understandable, engaging content. Let’s explore the world of tech together

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