In practice, the difference is in the location where the preprocessor searches for the included file.

For `#include <filename>`

the preprocessor searches in an implementation dependent manner, normally in search directories pre-designated by the compiler/IDE. This method is normally used to include standard library header files.

For `#include "filename"`

the preprocessor searches first in the same directory as the file containing the directive, and then follows the search path used for the `#include <filename>`

form. This method is normally used to include programmer-defined header files.

A more complete description is available in the GCC documentation on search paths.

# Setting a bit

Use the bitwise OR operator (`|`

) to set a bit.

```
number |= 1UL << n;
```

That will set the `n`

th bit of `number`

. `n`

should be zero, if you want to set the `1`

st bit and so on upto `n-1`

, if you want to set the `n`

th bit.

Use `1ULL`

if `number`

is wider than `unsigned long`

; promotion of `1UL << n`

doesn't happen until after evaluating `1UL << n`

where it's undefined behaviour to shift by more than the width of a `long`

. The same applies to all the rest of the examples.

# Clearing a bit

Use the bitwise AND operator (`&`

) to clear a bit.

```
number &= ~(1UL << n);
```

That will clear the `n`

th bit of `number`

. You must invert the bit string with the bitwise NOT operator (`~`

), then AND it.

# Toggling a bit

The XOR operator (`^`

) can be used to toggle a bit.

```
number ^= 1UL << n;
```

That will toggle the `n`

th bit of `number`

.

# Checking a bit

You didn't ask for this, but I might as well add it.

To check a bit, shift the number n to the right, then bitwise AND it:

```
bit = (number >> n) & 1U;
```

That will put the value of the `n`

th bit of `number`

into the variable `bit`

.

# Changing the *n*th bit to *x*

Setting the `n`

th bit to either `1`

or `0`

can be achieved with the following on a 2's complement C++ implementation:

```
number ^= (-x ^ number) & (1UL << n);
```

Bit `n`

will be set if `x`

is `1`

, and cleared if `x`

is `0`

. If `x`

has some other value, you get garbage. `x = !!x`

will booleanize it to 0 or 1.

To make this independent of 2's complement negation behaviour (where `-1`

has all bits set, unlike on a 1's complement or sign/magnitude C++ implementation), use unsigned negation.

```
number ^= (-(unsigned long)x ^ number) & (1UL << n);
```

or

```
unsigned long newbit = !!x; // Also booleanize to force 0 or 1
number ^= (-newbit ^ number) & (1UL << n);
```

It's generally a good idea to use unsigned types for portable bit manipulation.

or

```
number = (number & ~(1UL << n)) | (x << n);
```

`(number & ~(1UL << n))`

will clear the `n`

th bit and `(x << n)`

will set the `n`

th bit to `x`

.

It's also generally a good idea to not to copy/paste code in general and so many people use preprocessor macros (like the community wiki answer further down) or some sort of encapsulation.

## Best Solution

If you're using

Visual C++do the following: You include intrin.h and call the following functions:For 16 bit numbers:

For 32 bit numbers:

For 64 bit numbers:

8 bit numbers (chars) don't need to be converted.

Also these are only defined for unsigned values they work for signed integers as well.

For floats and doubles it's more difficult as with plain integers as these may or not may be in the host machines byte-order. You can get little-endian floats on big-endian machines and vice versa.

Other compilers have similar intrinsics as well.

In

GCCfor example you can directly call some builtins as documented here:(no need to include something). Afaik bits.h declares the same function in a non gcc-centric way as well.

16 bit swap it's just a bit-rotate.

Calling the intrinsics instead of rolling your own gives you the best performance and code density btw..