The switch statement control compound statements c program, only one variable is tested, all branches must depend on the value of that variable. The variable must be an integral type. (int, long, short or char). Each possible value of the variable can control a single branch.

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The switch Statement

This is another form of the multi way decision. It is well structured, but can only be used in certain cases where;

  • Only one variable is tested, all branches must depend on the value of that variable. The variable must be an integral type. (int, long, short or char).
  • Each possible value of the variable can control a single branch. A final, catch all, default branch may optionally be used to trap all unspecified cases.

Example given below will clarify things. This is a function which converts an integer into a vague description. It is useful where we are only concerned in measuring a quantity when it is quite small.

estimate(number)
int number;
/* Estimate a number as none, one, two, several, many */
{ switch(number) {
case 0 :
printf("None\n");
break;
case 1 :
printf("One\n");
break;
case 2 :
printf("Two\n");
break;
case 3 :
case 4 :
case 5 :
printf("Several\n");
break;
default :
printf("Many\n");
break;
}
}

Each interesting case is listed with a corresponding action. The break statement prevents any further statements from being executed by leaving the switch. Since case 3 and case 4 have no following break, they continue on allowing the same action for several values of number.

Both if and switch constructs allow the programmer to make a selection from a number of possible actions. Let us see an example:

#include <stdio.h>

int main()
{
int num;

for (num = 3 ; num < 13 ; num = num + 1)
{

switch (num)
{
case 3 :
printf("The value is three\n");
break;

case 4 :
printf("The value is four\n");
break;

case 5 :
case 6 :
case 7 :
case 8 :
printf("The value is between 5 and 8\n");
break;

case 11 :
printf("The value is eleven\n");
break;

default :
printf("It is one of the undefined values\n");
break;
} /* end of switch */
} /* end of for loop */

return 0;
}

The output of the program will be

The value is three
The value is four
The value is between 5 and 8
The value is between 5 and 8
The value is between 5 and 8
The value is between 5 and 8
It is one of the undefined values
It is one of the undefined values
The value is eleven
It is one of the undefined values

 

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