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Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 24 Hours, Third Edition by Jesse Liberty

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When to Use short and When to Use long

One source of confusion for new C++ programmers is when to declare a variable to be type long and when to declare it to be type short. The rule, when understood, is fairly straightforward: If there is any chance that the value you'll want to put into your variable will be too big for its type, use a larger type.

As seen in Table 3.1, unsigned short integers, assuming that they are two bytes, can hold a value only up to 65,535. Signed short integers can hold only half that. Although unsigned long integers can hold an extremely large number (4,294,967,295), that is still quite finite. If you need a larger number, you'll have to go to float or double, and then you lose some precision. Floats and doubles can ...

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