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.. title:: clang-tidy - readability-magic-numbers
Detects magic numbers, integer or floating point literals that are embedded in
code and not introduced via constants or symbols.
Many coding guidelines advise replacing the magic values with symbolic
constants to improve readability. Here are a few references:
* `Rule ES.45: Avoid “magic constants”; use symbolic constants in C++ Core Guidelines <>`_
* `Rule 5.1.1 Use symbolic names instead of literal values in code in High Integrity C++ <>`_
* Item 17 in "C++ Coding Standards: 101 Rules, Guidelines and Best
Practices" by Herb Sutter and Andrei Alexandrescu
* Chapter 17 in "Clean Code - A handbook of agile software craftsmanship."
by Robert C. Martin
* Rule 20701 in "TRAIN REAL TIME DATA PROTOCOL Coding Rules" by Armin-Hagen
Weiss, Bombardier
Examples of magic values:
.. code-block:: c++
double circleArea = 3.1415926535 * radius * radius;
double totalCharge = 1.08 * itemPrice;
int getAnswer() {
return -3; // FILENOTFOUND
for (int mm = 1; mm <= 12; ++mm) {
std::cout << month[mm] << '\n';
Example with magic values refactored:
.. code-block:: c++
double circleArea = M_PI * radius * radius;
const double TAX_RATE = 0.08; // or make it variable and read from a file
double totalCharge = (1.0 + TAX_RATE) * itemPrice;
int getAnswer() {
for (int mm = 1; mm <= MONTHS_IN_A_YEAR; ++mm) {
std::cout << month[mm] << '\n';
For integral literals by default only `0` and `1` (and `-1`) integer values
are accepted without a warning. This can be overridden with the
:option:`IgnoredIntegerValues` option. Negative values are accepted if their
absolute value is present in the :option:`IgnoredIntegerValues` list.
As a special case for integral values, all powers of two can be accepted
without warning by enabling the :option:`IgnorePowersOf2IntegerValues` option.
For floating point literals by default the `0.0` floating point value is
accepted without a warning. The set of ignored floating point literals can
be configured using the :option:`IgnoredFloatingPointValues` option.
For each value in that set, the given string value is converted to a
floating-point value representation used by the target architecture. If a
floating-point literal value compares equal to one of the converted values,
then that literal is not diagnosed by this check. Because floating-point
equality is used to determine whether to diagnose or not, the user needs to
be aware of the details of floating-point representations for any values that
cannot be precisely represented for their target architecture.
For each value in the :option:`IgnoredFloatingPointValues` set, both the
single-precision form and double-precision form are accepted (for example, if
3.14 is in the set, neither 3.14f nor 3.14 will produce a warning).
Scientific notation is supported for both source code input and option.
Alternatively, the check for the floating point numbers can be disabled for
all floating point values by enabling the
:option:`IgnoreAllFloatingPointValues` option.
Since values `0` and `0.0` are so common as the base counter of loops,
or initialization values for sums, they are always accepted without warning,
even if not present in the respective ignored values list.
.. option:: IgnoredIntegerValues
Semicolon-separated list of magic positive integers that will be accepted
without a warning. Default values are `{1, 2, 3, 4}`, and `0` is accepted
.. option:: IgnorePowersOf2IntegerValues
Boolean value indicating whether to accept all powers-of-two integer values
without warning. Default value is `false`.
.. option:: IgnoredFloatingPointValues
Semicolon-separated list of magic positive floating point values that will
be accepted without a warning. Default values are `{1.0, 100.0}` and `0.0`
is accepted unconditionally.
.. option:: IgnoreAllFloatingPointValues
Boolean value indicating whether to accept all floating point values without
warning. Default value is `false`.