C Programming Pointers and Functions - Call by Reference

When, argument is passed using pointer, address of the memory location is passed instead of value.

Example of Pointer And Functions

Program to swap two number using call by reference.

 /* C Program to swap two numbers using pointers and function. */
#include <stdio.h>
void swap(int *a,int *b);
int main(){
  int num1=5,num2=10;
  swap(&num1,&num2);  /* address of num1 and num2 is passed to swap function */
  printf("Number1 = %d\n",num1);
  printf("Number2 = %d",num2);
  return 0;
}
void swap(int *a,int *b){ /* pointer a and b points to address of num1 and num2 respectively */
  int temp;
  temp=*a;
  *a=*b;
  *b=temp;
}

Output

Number1 = 10
Number2 = 5

Explanation

The address of memory location num1 and num2 are passed to function and the pointers *a and *b accept those values. So, the pointer a and b points to address of num1 and num2 respectively. When, the value of pointer are changed, the value in memory location also changed correspondingly. Hence, change made to *a and *b was reflected in num1 and num2 in main function.

This technique is known as call by reference in C programming.