Difference Between Inline And Macro

Inline and macro are functions used in C++ and C computer programming. Mostly the inline function is used than a macro.

Inline vs Macro

The main difference between the Inline function and the macro function is that the inline function is a short function that is analyzed by a compiler while on the other hand, a macro is expanded by the preprocessor. Indeed, inline can access the members of a class while the macro function cannot access the members of a class.

Inline vs Macro

Inline is a normal Function. The function is defined by the inline keyword. It can easily access the members of the class. It improves the function.

Macro is defined by the #define keyword. It is almost never used in C++, it is used in C language more. They are more flexible but they are error-prone.

Comparison Table Between Inline And Macro

Parameters of ComparisonInlineMacro
DefinitionInline is a normal function used in C++ language defined by the keyword “Inline”.Macro is a function used mostly in C language that is defined by the keyword “#define”.
Access of class membersCan easily access the members of the class.Cannot access the members of the class.
DebuggedThe program can be easily debugged.The program cannot be easily debugged.
Where to define?Either inside or outside the class.At the beginning of the program.
TerminationIt is terminated by a symbol, a curly brace at the end.It is terminated by a new line rather than a symbol.

What is Inline?

Inline is a normal function that is used in the C++ computer programming language. It is defined by the inline keyword.

The function can be defined either inside or outside the class. And can be terminated by the symbol of the curly brace.

When the function is called, it saves the overhead of push/pop variables on the stack and also saves the overhead of a return call from a function.

The arguments in the case of an inline function, are evaluated only once and required conversions are presented correctly. This function is not widely used, mostly it is used in the C++ language but it is not required in competitive programming.

What is Micro?

Macro is expanded by a preprocessor in a program therefore it is also called preprocessors directive. This function is defined by the “#define” keyword.

Macro can be expanded irrespective of the fact that they are syntactically correct. From the macro expansion problems, the compile phase of the macro function will result in report errors.

And it cannot be debugged easily. Indeed, it can cause some side effects because of the expansion as the input expressions are copied everywhere they appear in the pattern.

Main Differences Between Inline And Macro

  1. Inline is almost never used in competitive programming while on the other hand, Macro is widely used in competitive programming.
  2. The arguments in the case of inline are evaluated only once while in the case of macro the arguments are evaluated every time the macro function is used in the program.


Inline function is more safe and easy to use therefore it is used in C++ computer language programming all the time. It can access all the members of the class and is easy to debug too.

Macros are widely used. It is used in context and can be expanded irrespective of the fact that they are syntactically correct. It is not easy to debug. And it is defined at the beginning of the program and can be terminated by a new line.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-322-87867-0_8
  2. https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/10091/100910H/Inline-measurement-for-quality-control-from-macro-to-micro-laser/10.1117/12.2255824.short
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