In computer programming, swapping two numbers is a common task that is used in various programming languages. As we know, the traditional way of swapping two numbers involves the use of a temporary variable, which stores one of the values temporarily before the swap operation is carried out. However, in some scenarios, the use of a temporary variable can be avoided, and the numbers can be swapped without the use of a temporary variable. In this article, we will explore how to swap two numbers in C without using a temporary variable.
Swapping two numbers in C without a temporary variable can be done in several ways, The most popular methods are using arithmetic operators and using bitwise operators. In this article, we will examine both methods in detail and illustrate the examples of them.
Method 1: Using Arithmetic Operators:
In the arithmetic approach, we use arithmetic operators like addition, subtraction, and multiplication to swap two numbers. This method involves performing some mathematical operations on the two numbers to swap their values. The following is the code example in C language that demonstrates how to use arithmetic operators to swap two numbers:
#include<stdio.h>
int main()
{
int a = 10, b = 5;
a = a + b;
b = a – b;
a = a – b;
printf("a = %d b = %d", a, b);
return 0;
}
Output: a = 5 b = 10
Explanation:
 Step 1: First, we declare two variables a and b with initial values 10 and 5, respectively.
 Step 2: Next, we add the values of variables 'a' and 'b', and assign the result to the variable 'a'. Thus, now the value of 'a' becomes 15.
 Step 3: Next, we calculate the difference between the new value of 'a' and the original value of 'b'. We assign this result to the variable 'b'. Thus, now the value of 'b' becomes 10.
 Step 4: Finally, we calculate the difference between the new value of 'a' and the new value of 'b'. We assign this result to variable 'a'. Thus, now the value of 'a' becomes 5.
Therefore, the above code swaps the values of variables 'a' and 'b' without using a temporary variable.
Method 2: Using Bitwise Operators:
In the bitwise approach, we use bitwise operations like XOR to swap two numbers. The bitwise XOR operator (^) returns a bit that is set to 1 in either of the two operands but not both. When both the bits are the same, it returns 0. The following is the code example in C language that demonstrates how to use bitwise operators to swap two numbers:
#include<stdio.h>
int main()
{
int a = 10, b = 5;
a = a ^ b;
b = a ^ b;
a = a ^ b;
printf("a = %d b = %d", a, b);
return 0;
}
Output: a = 5 b = 10
Explanation:
 Step 1: First, we declare two variables a and b with initial values 10 and 5, respectively.
 Step 2: Next, we perform the bitwise exclusive OR operation on the variables 'a' and 'b' and assign the result to variable 'a'. Thus, now the value of 'a' becomes 15.
 Step 3: Next, we perform the bitwise exclusive OR operation on variables 'a' and 'b' and assign the result to the variable 'b'. Thus, now the value of 'b' becomes 10.
 Step 4: Finally, we perform the bitwise exclusive OR operation on variables 'a' and 'b' and assign the result to the variable 'a'. Thus, now the value of 'a' becomes 5.
Therefore, the above code swaps the values of variables 'a' and 'b' without using a temporary variable.
Conclusion:
In conclusion, in this article, we discussed how to swap two numbers in C without using a temporary variable. We examined two popular methods of performing this task, namely the arithmetic approach and the bitwise approach. Both of these methods can be used in different scenarios depending on the specific requirements of the program. By using any of the abovegiven methods, we can swap the values of two variables without using a third variable, thus reducing the memory usage and enhancing the performance.
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Popular questions
Sure, here are 5 questions and answers related to swapping of two numbers in C without a temporary variable with code examples:

What is the traditional way of swapping two numbers in C?
Answer: The traditional way of swapping two numbers in C involves the use of a temporary variable that stores the value of one number temporarily before the swap operation is carried out. 
Why would you want to swap two numbers without a temporary variable?
Answer: There are some scenarios where the use of a temporary variable can be avoided, such as when memory usage is a concern or when performance optimization is required. 
What is the arithmetic approach to swapping two numbers in C without a temporary variable?
Answer: The arithmetic approach involves using arithmetic operators like addition, subtraction, and multiplication to swap the values of two numbers. 
What is the bitwise approach to swapping two numbers in C without a temporary variable?
Answer: The bitwise approach involves using bitwise operators like XOR to swap the values of two numbers. 
What are the benefits of swapping two numbers in C without a temporary variable?
Answer: Swapping two numbers without a temporary variable can help to reduce memory usage and enhance performance, particularly in scenarios where memory usage is a concern or where optimization is required. Additionally, it can also be a useful exercise in problemsolving and understanding programming concepts more deeply.
Tag
Swap