C Program to Compute Nth Factorial using Recursion

The program to compute factorial calls a function recursively to compute the output. The recursion is the ability of a computing procedure to call itself repeatedly, until the problem is solved.

We compiled the program using Dev C++ version 5 (beta) compiler installed on Windows 7 64-bit system. You can use any standard C compiler, but make sure to change the source code according to compiler specifications.

You must know the following c programming concepts before trying the example program.

Problem Definition

In simple words, the factorial of a given number n is the product of all the numbers up to that number, including the number.
So factorial of 5 is 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 = 120
In the previous section, we introduced you to the concept of recursion.To elaborate on that see the example below.
If factorial () is a function then,
Every time factorial function calls itself, it reduces 1 from the parameter of the function until the factorial (1) is reached. Then it starts processing or working from factorial (1) to the top – factorial (n) and prints the final results.

Flowchart – Factorial with Recursion

Flowchart - Factorial with Recursion
Flowchart – Factorial with Recursion

Program Code – Factorial with Recursion

/*Program to compute Nth factorial */

#include < stdio.h >

#include < stdlib.h >

int fact (int n)

    unsigned int f;

    if ((n == 0) || (n == 1))

        return (n);


        /* Compute factorial by Recursive calls */

        f = n * fact (n - 1); 

        return (f);


main ()

    int i, n;

    /* Reading the number */

    printf ("Enter the Number :");

    scanf ("%d", & n);

    /* Printing results */

    for (i = 0; i < 30; i++)

    printf ("_");printf ("\n\n");

    printf ("Factorial of Number %d is %d\n", n, fact (n));

    for (i = 0; i < 30; i++)

    printf ("_");printf ("\n\n");

    system ("PAUSE");

    return 0;


The most important line of code in the above source code is following.

f = n * fact(n-1);

The n is the current number being multiplied and function fact(n – 1) calls the previous number and this process continues till 1 reached. Then, the actual multiplication starts from fact(1) up to fact( n) processing all numbers and resulting in final output.


Output - Factorial with Recursion
Output – Factorial with Recursion


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