by Dinesh Thakur Category: Operators and Expressions

The left-shift, right-shift, and zero-fill-right-shift operators <<, >>, and >>> shift the individual bits of an integer by a specified integer amount.



x << 3;

y >> 1;

z >>> 2;


In the first example, the individual bits of the integer variable x are shifted to the left three places (so it is multiplied by 2i.e. 8). In the second example, the bits of yare shifted 1 place to the right, so it is divided by 2. Finally, the third example shows z being shifted to the right two places, with zeros shifted into the two leftmost places (it is divided by 4 and its sign is converted to positive value if it was negative earlier) .

The number being shifted in this case is the decimal 7, which is represented in binary as 0111. The first right-shift operation shifts the bits two places to the right, resulting in the binary number 0001, or decimal 1. The next operation, a left-shift, shifts the bits one place to the left, resulting in the binary number 1110, or decimal 14. The last operation is a zero-fill-right-shift, which shifts the bits one place to the right, resulting in the binary number 0011, or decimal 3.

With positive numbers, there is no difference between the two operators right-shift operator and zero-fill-right-shift operator, they both shift zeros into the upper bits of a number. The difference arises when we start shifting negative numbers. The negative numbers have the high-order bit set to 1. The right-shift operator preserves the high-order bit and effectively shifts the lower 31 bits to the right. This behavior yields results for negative numbers similar to those for positive numbers. That is, -8 shifted right by one results in -4. The zero-fill-right-shift operator, on the other hand, shifts zeros into all the upper bits, including the high-order bit. When this shifting is applied to negative numbers, the high-order bit becomes 0 and the number becomes positive.


Here is the Java Example for left-shift, right-shift, and zero-fill-right-shift operators

class   ShiftOperators   

            public  static  void  main  (String  args[ ] )
                         int  x  =  7 ;
                         System.out.println ("x  =  "  +  x) ;
                         System.out.println ("x  >>  2  =  "  +   (x  >>  2) ) ;
                         System.out.println ("x  <<  1  =  "  +  (x  <<  1) ) ;
                        System.out.println ("x  >>>  1  =  "  +  (x  >>>  1) ) ;   

Shift Operators in Java

About Dinesh Thakur

Dinesh ThakurDinesh Thakur holds an B.C.A, MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, CCNP, A+, SCJP certifications. Dinesh authors the hugely popular blog. Where he writes how-to guides around Computer fundamental , computer software, Computer programming, and web apps. For any type of query or something that you think is missing, please feel free to Contact us.