Pointer (computer programming)

Object which stores memory addresses in a computer program

In computer science, a pointer is a variable whose value is a location in the computer's memory.[1] If Rick stands in a room and points to his friend Sally, then Rick is a pointer whose value is Sally's location. A programmer must dereference the pointer to retrieve the object it points to. Pointers do not take up much memory (RAM). Copying a pointer to a large object is faster than copying the large object itself because only the location needs to be copied, instead of the whole object.

Uses of PointersEdit

Pointers are used in linked lists. Each record of a linked list has a pointer to the next record. These pointers chain the records together. This means that the records in a linked list can be sorted and arranged by changing their pointers.


  1. N. Datta, Computer Programming and Numerical Analysis (Hyderabad Universities Press, 2003), p. 465