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{{fbdoc item="title" value="Pointer Arithmetic"}}----

**{{anchor name="OVERVIEW|Overview"}}**
**{{anchor name="INCDEC|Incrementing and decrementing pointers"}}**
**{{anchor name="DISTANCE|Distance between two pointers"}}**

{{anchor name="OVERVIEW"}}{{fbdoc item="section" value="Overview"}}
It is often useful to iterate through memory, from one address to another. Pointers are used to accomplish this. While the type of a pointer determines the type of variable or object retrieved when the pointer is dereferenced (using ##[[KeyPgOpValueOf|Operator * (Value of)]]##), it also determines the //distance//, in bytes, its particular type takes up in memory. For example, a ##[[KeyPgShort|Short]]## takes up two (2) bytes in memory, while a ##[[KeyPgSingle|Single]]## needs four (4) bytes.

Pointers can be added to and subtracted from just like a numeric type. The result of this addition or subtraction is an address, and the type of pointer determines the distance from the original pointer.

For example, the following,

dim p as integer ptr = new integer[2]

*p = 1
*(p + 1) = 2
%%
will assign the values "##1##" and "##2##" to each integer in the array pointer to by ##//p//##. Since ##//p//## is an ##[[KeyPgInteger|Integer]] [[KeyPgPtr|Pointer]]##, the expression "##*(p + 1)##" is saying to dereference an ##[[KeyPgInteger|Integer]]## four/eight (4/8 on 32/64bit systems) bytes from ##//p//##; the "##1##" indicates a distance of "##1 * the size of an [[KeyPgInteger|Integer]]##", or four/eight (4/8 on 32/64bit systems) bytes.

Subtraction follows the exact same principle. Remember, //a// - //b// = //a// + -//b//.

{{anchor name="INCDEC"}}{{fbdoc item="section" value="Incrementing and decrementing pointers"}}
Sometimes it is more convenient to modify the pointer itself, in which case the combination addition and subtraction operators will work just like above. For example, the following,

{{fbdoc item="filename" value="examples/manual/proguide/pointers/incdec.bas"}}%%(freebasic)
dim array(5) as short = { 32, 43, 66, 348, 112, 0 }
dim p as short ptr = @array(0)

while (*p <> 0)
if (*p = 66) then print "found 66"
p += 1
wend
%%
iterates through an array until it finds an element with the value of "##0##". If it finds an element with the value "##66##" it displays a nice message.

{{anchor name="DISTANCE"}}{{fbdoc item="section" value="Distance between two pointers"}}
The distance between two pointers is retrieved with ##[[KeyPgOpSubtract|Operator - (Subtract)]]##, and is measured in values, not bytes. For example, the following,

{{fbdoc item="filename" value="examples/manual/proguide/pointers/distance.bas"}}%%(freebasic)
type T as single

dim array(5) as T = { 32, 43, 66, 348, 112, 0 }
dim p as T ptr = @array(0)

while (*p <> 0)
p += 1
wend
print p - @array(0)
%%
will output "##5##" regardless of what type ##//T//## is. This is because there is a five (5) element difference between the first element of //array// (##32##) and the element pointed to by ##//p//## (##0##).

Specifically, if //a// and //b// are both pointers of type //T//, the distance between them is the number of bytes between them, divided by the size, in bytes, of //T//, or
##
( cast(byte ptr, a) - cast(byte ptr, b) ) / sizeof(T)
##
{{fbdoc item="see"}}