To start learning C programming, you only have to install the C compiler in your system. Nowadays, C and C++ both compilers come as a single integrated package, which serves the purpose of both C and C++ program development. This C installation tutorial describes the C compiler and guides you on installing it on your system.

What is Compiler in C?

A compiler is a computer program that transforms human-readable (programming language) source code into another computer language (binary) code. In simple terms, the Compiler takes the code you wrote and turns it into a binary code that the computer can understand.

The C compiler is a software application that transforms the human-readable C program code into machine-readable code. Transforming the code from High-Level Language to Machine Level Language is called "Compilation". The human-readable code is the C program that consists of digits, letters, special symbols, etc., that human beings understand. On the other hand, machine language depends on the processor, and the processor understands zeroes and ones (binary) only. All C program execution is based on a processor available in the CPU; that is why the entire C source code needs to be converted to the binary system by the Compiler.

This tutorial is written for Windows, Unix / Linux, and MAC users. All code has been tested and works correctly on all three operating systems.

List of C Compilers for Windows OS

Since there are various compilers available in the online market, here are the lists of some of the most frequently used ones:

  • CCS C Compiler
  • Turbo C
  • Minimalist GNU for Windows (MinGW)
  • Portable C Compiler
  • Clang C++
  • Digital Mars C++ Compiler
  • Intel C++
  • IBM C++
  • Visual C++ : Express Edition
  • Oracle C++

All of these above compilers for C are free to download, but there are some other paid C compilers also available, or programmers can get it for a trial version:

  • Embarcadero C++
  • Edison Design Group C++
  • Green Hills C++
  • HP C++ for Unix
  • Intel C++ for Windows, Linux, and some embedded systems.
  • Microsoft C++
  • Paradigm C++

C Compiler Installation on Windows

To use the C compiler in Windows, you can install any software mentioned below.

C Compiler Installation on UNIX/Linux

If you are using UNIX / Linux, probably a C compiler called GCC is already in your system. You can type cc or gcc at the command prompt to check if you have it installed.

$ gcc -v

If it is not installed on your system for some reason, you can download it from

C Compiler Installation on MAC

Xcode development environment came with GNU C/C++ compiler; You can install it from Apple's website.

You can download Xcode from