Data types in Java

A data type classifies various types of data eg. String, integer, float, boolean, the types of accepted values for that data type, operations that can be performed on the data type, the meaning of the data, and the way that data of that type can be stored.

The table below shows the most commonly used data types used in the Java programming language.

Type Description Example
int The integer (int) data type stores positive or negative whole number values. 20
float The float data type stores floating point numbers (numbers with decimal places) eg. 43.65 . Often, you will need to end a float value with an ‘f’ character eg. 43.65f 43.65f
char The char data type stores a single character such as a letter, number, space or special character (eg. a, 1, !).  A char value is always surrounded by single quotes eg. ‘a’. ‘a’
String The String data type stores letters, numbers and other characters in the form of words or sentences. A string value is always surrounded by double quotes eg. “Hello World”. “Hello world”
boolean The boolean data type stores true or false values only eg. true true

The table below shows some of the other data types used in the Java programming language.

Type Description Example
byte The byte data type stores integer numbers ranging from -128 to +127 118
short The short data type is used for integer numbers ranging from -32,768 to +32,767 -28,471
long The long data type is used for integer values exceeding 2.14 billion ‘a’
double The double data type is used for extremely long floating point numbers 1.7976931348623157 × 10^308

Sample code

The sample Java code below shows how some of the different data types can be stored in variables. Later on, we will look at how to actually work with the values of different data types (eg. math calculations with integers and floats, and decision making with booleans).

The code includes comments explaining each data type.

package myjavaproject;

public class DataTypes {
    public static void main (String[] args){
        String message = "Hello"; // variable of String data type
        char letter = 'a'; // variable of char data type
        int number = 20; // variabe of int (integer) data type
        float decimal = 43.65f; // variable of float (floating point) data type
        boolean result = true; // variable of Boolean data type
        // now let's output the values of the different variables
        System.out.println("Message is " + message);
        System.out.println("Letter is " + letter);
        System.out.println("Age is " + number);
        System.out.println("Score is " + decimal);
        System.out.println("The answer is " + result);