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Kotlin Data Types

Kotlin Data Types

In Kotlin, the type of a variable is decided by its value:


val myNum = 5             // Int
val myDoubleNum = 5.99    // Double
val myLetter = 'D'        // Char
val myBoolean = true      // Boolean
val myText = "Hello"      // String
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However, you learned from the previous chapter that it is possible to specify the type if you want:


val myNum: Int = 5                // Int
val myDoubleNum: Double = 5.99    // Double
val myLetter: Char = 'D'          // Char
val myBoolean: Boolean = true     // Boolean
val myText: String = "Hello"      // String
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Sometimes you have to specify the type, and often you don't. Anyhow, it is good to know what the different types represent.

You will learn more about when you need to specify the type later.

Data types are divided into different groups:

  • Numbers
  • Characters
  • Booleans
  • Strings
  • Arrays


Number types are divided into two groups:

Integer types store whole numbers, positive or negative (such as 123 or -456), without decimals. Valid types are Byte, Short, Int and Long.

Floating point types represent numbers with a fractional part, containing one or more decimals. There are two types: Float and Double.

If you don't specify the type for a numeric variable, it is most often returned as Int for whole numbers and Double for floating point numbers.

Integer Types


The Byte data type can store whole numbers from -128 to 127. This can be used instead of Int or other integer types to save memory when you are certain that the value will be within -128 and 127:


val myNum: Byte = 100
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The Short data type can store whole numbers from -32768 to 32767:


val myNum: Short = 5000
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The Int data type can store whole numbers from -2147483648 to 2147483647:


val myNum: Int = 100000
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The Long data type can store whole numbers from -9223372036854775807 to 9223372036854775807. This is used when Int is not large enough to store the value. Optionally, you can end the value with an "L":


val myNum: Long = 15000000000L
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Difference Between Int and Long

A whole number is an Int as long as it is up to 2147483647. If it goes beyond that, it is defined as Long:


val myNum1 = 2147483647  // Int
val myNum2 = 2147483648  // Long

Floating Point Types

Floating point types represent numbers with a decimal, such as 9.99 or 3.14515.

The Float and Double data types can store fractional numbers:

Float Example

val myNum: Float = 5.75F
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Double Example

val myNum: Double = 19.99
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Use Float or Double?

The precision of a floating point value indicates how many digits the value can have after the decimal point. The precision of Float is only six or seven decimal digits, while Double variables have a precision of about 15 digits. Therefore it is safer to use Double for most calculations.

Also note that you should end the value of a Float type with an "F".

Scientific Numbers

A floating point number can also be a scientific number with an "e" or "E" to indicate the power of 10:


val myNum1: Float = 35E3F
val myNum2: Double = 12E4
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The Boolean data type and can only take the values true or false:


val isKotlinFun: Boolean = true
val isFishTasty: Boolean = false
println(isKotlinFun)   // Outputs true
println(isFishTasty)   // Outputs false 
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Boolean values are mostly used for conditional testing, which you will learn more about in a later chapter.


The Char data type is used to store a single character. A char value must be surrounded by single quotes, like 'A' or 'c':


val myGrade: Char = 'B'
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Unlike Java, you cannot use ASCII values to display certain characters. The value 66 would output a "B" in Java, but will generate an error in Kotlin:


val myLetter: Char = 66
println(myLetter) // Error


The String data type is used to store a sequence of characters (text). String values must be surrounded by double quotes:


val myText: String = "Hello World"
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You will learn more about strings in the Strings chapter.


Arrays are used to store multiple values in a single variable, instead of declaring separate variables for each value.

You will learn more about arrays in the Arrays chapter.

Type Conversion

Type conversion is when you convert the value of one data type to another type.

In Kotlin, numeric type conversion is different from Java. For example, it is not possible to convert an Int type to a Long type with the following code:


val x: Int = 5
val y: Long = x
println(y) // Error: Type mismatch 
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To convert a numeric data type to another type, you must use one of the following functions: toByte(), toShort(), toInt(), toLong(), toFloat(), toDouble() or toChar():


val x: Int = 5
val y: Long = x.toLong()
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