THE WORLD'S LARGEST WEB DEVELOPER SITE

C++ Pointers


Creating Pointers

You learned from the previous chapter, that we can get the memory address of a variable by using the & operator:

Example

string food = "Pizza"; // A food variable of type string

cout << food;  // Outputs the value of food (Pizza)
cout << &food; // Outputs the memory address of food (0x6dfed4)
Try it Yourself »

A pointer however, is a variable that stores the memory address as its value.

A pointer variable points to a data type (like int or string) of the same type, and is created with the * operator. The address of the variable you're working with is assigned to the pointer:

Example

string food = "Pizza";  // A food variable of type string
string* ptr = &food;    // A pointer variable, with the name ptr, that stores the address of food

// Output the value of food (Pizza)
cout << food << "\n";

// Output the memory address of food (0x6dfed4)
cout << &food << "\n";

// Output the memory address of food with the pointer (0x6dfed4)
cout << ptr << "\n";
Try it Yourself »

Example explained

Create a pointer variable with the name ptr, that points to a string variable, by using the asterisk sign * (string* ptr). Note that the type of the pointer has to match the type of the variable you're working with.

Use the & operator to store the memory address of the variable called food, and assign it to the pointer.

Now, ptr holds the value of food's memory address.

Tip: There are three ways to declare pointer variables, but the first way is preferred:

string* mystring; // Preferred
string *mystring;
string * mystring;

C++ Exercises

Test Yourself With Exercises

Exercise:

Create a pointer variable with the name ptr, that should point to a string variable named food:

string food = "Pizza";
  = &;

Start the Exercise