What Is The Difference between If-else and Switch Case?

What is the difference between if-else and switch case? The  if-else in C programming is a conditional statement that executes a different set of statements based on the condition that is true or false whereas the switch case is a conditional statement used in C programming to check the value of a variable and compare it with all the cases.

If-else and switch case is selection statements that are quite popular in a computer programming language. These statements tend to confuse a lot of people learning different programming languages.  The lesson provides the core difference between If-else and switches case selection statement both in tabular and point form. Let’s find out:

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Difference between If-else and Switch Case (With Table)

Basic Terms If-else Statement Switch Case Statement
Meaning The statement will be executed depending on the expression value inside the if-else statement The statement execution is determined by the user
Expression Uses multiple statements for multiple decisions Uses a single statement for multiple decisions
Testing Test logical expressions and equality Test only for equality
Evaluation Evaluates integers, characters, floating points, pointers and boolean type. Evaluates character expressions and integers
Sequence of Execution Either else or if statement will be executed Execute each case one after the other until a break statement appears.
Default Execution If the condition inside the if-statement is false then by default the else statement is executed if created. If the switch statement does not match any case then the default statement is executed if created.
Editing Tend to be difficult to edit if-else statement when the nested if-else statement is used. Easy to edit if-else statement and they can easily be recognized.
Values Values are based on constraints Values are based on user choice
Use Use to evaluate conditions if true or false Use multiple values for the same variable or expression.

What Is If-else?

Certainly. In programming, the if-else statement is a fundamental control structure used to make decisions based on certain conditions. It allows a program to execute different sets of instructions depending on whether a specified condition is true or false. The if-else statement consists of two main blocks: the “if” block and the “else” block.

Within the “if” block, a condition is evaluated, and if the condition is true, the associated set of instructions or code block is executed. On the other hand, if the condition is false, the program proceeds to the “else” block and executes the instructions specified within it.

The if-else statement provides a way for developers to create branching logic, enabling programs to adapt their behavior dynamically based on varying input or circumstances. This construct is essential for writing flexible and responsive code, allowing programmers to control the flow of execution and handle different scenarios within a program.

The simplicity and effectiveness of the if-else statement make it a cornerstone of conditional programming in various programming languages.

What Is Switch Case?

Certainly. In programming, the switch-case statement is a control structure designed for handling multiple conditions in a concise and organized manner. It is particularly useful when there is a need to compare a variable or expression against multiple possible values and execute different code blocks based on the match.

Within a switch-case statement, a variable or expression is evaluated once, and its value is then compared against various cases. Each case represents a specific value or range of values that the variable or expression might take. When a match is found, the corresponding code block associated with that case is executed, and the program then exits the switch statement.

The switch-case statement provides an alternative to using multiple if-else statements for handling multiple conditions. It enhances code readability and can be more efficient in scenarios where there are numerous distinct cases. Additionally, the use of the “break” statement within each case ensures that once a match is found, only the corresponding code block is executed, preventing fall-through to subsequent cases.

The switch-case statement is a valuable tool for creating clean and structured code, especially in situations where code branching is based on the equality of a variable or expression with various predefined values. Different programming languages may implement the switch-case statement with slight variations, but the core concept remains consistent across them.

Main Difference between If-else and Switch Case

  1. If-else statement is used to select among two choices while the switch case statement is used to select among multiple choices.
  2. If-else values are based on constraints while switch case values are based on user choices.
  3. If-else statements are used to implement a linear search while switch case statement to implement binary search.
  4. Tend to be quite tough to edit if-else statement when the nested if-else statement is used while the switch case statement is simple to edit.

Similarities between If Else and Switch Case

  1. Both used in the control flow of programs
  2. Both are used in the evaluation of conditions
  3. Both tend to be identical except the way of representation


In conclusion, the if-else statement and the switch-case statement are both indispensable tools in a programmer’s toolkit, offering distinct advantages and use cases. Understanding the differences between these two conditional constructs is crucial for writing efficient, readable, and maintainable code.

The if-else statement provides a versatile and flexible way to handle conditions in a program. It is well-suited for scenarios where conditions are complex, involve logical operators, or need to be evaluated in a specific order. The if-else statement allows for a fine-grained control flow, enabling developers to address a wide range of conditions with precision.

On the other hand, the switch-case statement excels when dealing with a variable or expression that needs to be compared against multiple values. Its syntax is particularly well-suited for scenarios where the code branching is based on equality. The switch-case statement enhances code readability by presenting a clear and concise structure, especially when there are numerous distinct cases.

Choosing between if-else and switch-case depends on the specific requirements of the task at hand. If the conditions involve complex expressions, logical operators, or a non-discrete range of values, the if-else statement is often the preferred choice. Conversely, when dealing with a variable that can be compared against a set of distinct values, the switch-case statement offers a more elegant and streamlined solution.

In practice, the choice between if-else and switch-case is often influenced by factors such as code readability, performance considerations, and the nature of the conditions being evaluated. Ultimately, both constructs are essential tools that empower programmers to create robust, adaptive, and efficient code, contributing to the overall success of software development projects.

More Sources and References

  • https://hackr.io/blog/python-conditional-statements-switch-if-else
  • http://www.phpknowhow.com/basics/if-else-and-switch-case/ 

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