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Table of contents
Understanding Timers in C++
Using the Chrono Library
Creating a Timer in C++
Important Aspects of Timers in C++
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the chrono library in C++?
How can I create a timer in C++?
What is high_resolution_clock in C++?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

C++ Timer

Author Rahul Singh
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Timers are a vital part of many applications, from measuring execution time to scheduling tasks. This tool becomes especially important in C++, a language used in systems requiring precision and performance. 

C++ Timer

This article explores how to use timers in C++, and how it adds value to your C++ code.

Understanding Timers in C++

The C++ Standard Library does not offer a built-in timer, but it does provide components that can be combined to create one. The chrono library, part of the Standard Library, contains time-related functions and classes that help create timers.

A timer can be implemented in C++ by capturing the time at two different points and then finding the difference.

Using the Chrono Library

The chrono library in C++ provides three main types: durations, clocks, and time points.

  • Durations: A chrono::duration object represents a time span.
  • Clocks: A chrono::system_clock object represents a specific point in time.
  • Time Points: A chrono::time_point object represents a point in time.

By understanding these components, we can construct a simple timer.

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Creating a Timer in C++

Below is an example of how to create a simple timer using the chrono library:

#include <iostream>
#include <chrono>
int main() {
    auto start = std::chrono::high_resolution_clock::now();

    // Code to time goes here
    for (int i = 0; i < 100000; i++);
    auto end = std::chrono::high_resolution_clock::now();

    std::chrono::duration<double> elapsed = end - start;

    std::cout << "Elapsed time: " << elapsed.count() << " seconds\n";

    return 0;



In this code, we capture the start and end time around the code we want to time, and then calculate and output the elapsed time.

Important Aspects of Timers in C++

Creating and using timers in C++ involves understanding a few key concepts:

  • Resolution: The accuracy of the timer, which is determined by the clock's resolution. The high_resolution_clock provides the highest available resolution.
  • Overhead: There is a small amount of overhead in getting the current time and calculating elapsed time.
  • Scope of Timing: What you time should have a meaningful scope. Too small, and the result could be affected by overhead. Too large, and it may not provide useful information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the chrono library in C++?

chrono is a library in C++ that provides classes and functions for measuring time.

How can I create a timer in C++?

You can use the chrono library's high_resolution_clock and duration classes to measure the time elapsed between two points in your code.

What is high_resolution_clock in C++?

high_resolution_clock is a type in C++ chrono library that provides the smallest possible tick period.


Timers are critical tools for any C++ developer, providing insights into how fast the code executes, which can help in optimization and performance tuning. By utilizing the chrono library, developers can effectively create high-precision timers in their applications. 

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