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 C and C++ program development purpose. 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 turns your code into a binary code that the computer can understand.

The C compiler is a software application that transforms human-readable C program code into machine-readable code. Transforming the code from High-Level to Machine Level Language is called "Compilation". The human-readable code is the C program, consisting of digits, letters, special symbols, etc., that humans 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, a C compiler called GCC is probably 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, 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

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