What is a pointer?

By analogy, an electronic pointing device such as the TrackPoint used on ThinkPad notebook computers, and similar devices on computers from other manufacturers.

In computer science, a pointer is a programming language datatype whose value refers directly to ("points to") another value stored elsewhere in the computer memory using its address. Obtaining the value that a pointer refers to is called dereferencing the pointer. A pointer is a simple implementation of the general reference datatype (although it is quite different from the facility referred to as a reference in C++).

Pointers are so commonly used as references that sometimes people use the word "pointer" to refer to references in general; however, more properly it only applies to data structures whose interface explicitly allows it to be manipulated as a memory address. If you are seeking general information on a small piece of data used to find an object.

The pointing icon on a computer screen that users control with input devices such as computer mouse or joystick.

Pointer: A pointer is a programming language datatype whose value refers directly to another value stored elsewhere in the computer memory using its address.

A pointer is an object that contains the address of another object.

int a; /* an object of type integer */

int *pa; /* an object of type pointer to integer */

pa = &a; /* initialization of the pointer, pa now "points to" a */

pa; /* reference to the pointer's value */

*pa; /* reference to the object's value */

Arrays and pointers are closely related, but that is not within the scope of the question.