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Nested Structure in C

C provides us the feature of nesting one structure within another structure by using which, complex data types are created. For example, we may need to store the address of an entity employee in a structure. The attribute address may also have the subparts as street number, city, state, and pin code. Hence, to store the address of the employee, we need to store the address of the employee into a separate structure and nest the structure address into the structure employee. Consider the following program.


Enter employee information?





Printing the employee information....   

name: Arun      

City: Delhi  

Pincode: 110001

Phone: 1234567890

The structure can be nested in the following ways.

  1. By separate structure
  2. By Embedded structure

1) Separate structure

Here, we create two structures, but the dependent structure should be used inside the main structure as a member. Consider the following example.

As you can see, doj (date of joining) is the variable of type Date. Here doj is used as a member in Employee structure. In this way, we can use Date structure in many structures.

2) Embedded structure

The embedded structure enables us to declare the structure inside the structure. Hence, it requires less line of codes but it can not be used in multiple data structures. Consider the following example.

Accessing Nested Structure

We can access the member of the nested structure by Outer_Structure.Nested_Structure.member as given below:

C Nested Structure example

Let's see a simple example of the nested structure in C language.


employee id : 101
employee name : Sonoo Jaiswal
employee date of joining (dd/mm/yyyy) : 10/11/2014

Passing structure to function

Just like other variables, a structure can also be passed to a function. We may pass the structure members into the function or pass the structure variable at once. Consider the following example to pass the structure variable employee to a function display() which is used to display the details of an employee.

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