auto specifier (since C++11)

< cpp‎ | language

Specifies that the type of the variable that is being declared will be automatically deduced from its initializer. For functions, specifies that the return type is a trailing return type.


[edit] Syntax

auto variable initializer (1) (since C++11)
auto function -> return type (2) (since C++11)

[edit] Explanation

1) When declaring variables in block scope, in namespace scope, in init statements of for loops, etc, the type of the variable may be omitted and the keyword auto may be used instead.

Once the type of the initializer has been determined, the compiler determines the type that will replace the keyword auto as if using the rules for template argument deduction from a function call(see the example). The keyword auto may be accompanied by modifiers, such as const or &, which will participate in the type deduction. For example, given const auto& i = expr;, the type of i is exactly the type of the argument u in an imaginary template template<class U> void f(const U& u) if the function call f(expr) was compiled.

2) In a function declaration, the keyword auto does not perform automatic type detection. It only serves as a part of the trailing return type syntax.

[edit] Notes

Until C++11, auto had the semantic of a storage duration specifier.

[edit] Example

the example showing output using one of the implementations where typeinfo::name prints full type names; filter through c++filt -t if using gcc or similar

#include <iostream>
#include <cmath>
#include <typeinfo>
template<class T, class U>
auto add(T t, U u) -> decltype(t + u) // the return type of add is the type of operator+(T,U)
    return t + u;
auto get_fun(int arg)->double(*)(double) // same as double (*get_fun(int))(double)
    switch (arg) {
        case 1: return std::fabs;
        case 2: return std::sin;
        default: return std::cos;
int main()
    auto a = 1 + 2;
    std::cout << "type of a: " << typeid(a).name() << '\n';
    auto b = add(1, 1.2);
    std::cout << "type of b: " << typeid(b).name() << '\n';
    //auto int c; //compile-time error
    auto d = {1, 2};
    std::cout << "type of d: " << typeid(d).name() << '\n';
    auto my_lambda = [](int x) { return x + 3; };
    std::cout << "my_lambda: " << my_lambda(5) << '\n';
    auto my_fun = get_fun(2);
    std::cout << "type of my_fun: " << typeid(my_fun).name() << '\n';
    std::cout << "my_fun: " << my_fun(3) << '\n';

Possible output:

type of a: int
type of b: double
type of d: std::initializer_list<int>
my_lambda: 8
type of my_fun: double (*)(double)
my_fun: 0.14112