Flag

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What Does Flag Mean?

A flag is one or more data bits used to store binary values as specific program structure indicators. A flag is a component of a programming language’s data structure.

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A computer interprets a flag value in relative terms or based on the data structure presented during processing, and uses the flag to mark a specific data structure. Thus, the flag value directly impacts the processing outcome.

Techopedia Explains Flag

A flag reveals whether a data structure is in a possible state range and may indicate a bit field attribute, which is often permission-related. A microprocessor has multiple state registers that store multiple flag values that serve as possible post-processing condition indicators such as arithmetic overflow.

The command line switch is a common flag format in which a parser option is set at the beginning of a command line program. Then, switches are translated into flags during program processing.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.