Layout of State Variables in Storage

State variables of contracts are stored in storage in a compact way such that multiple values sometimes use the same storage slot. Except for dynamically-sized arrays and mappings (see below), data is stored contiguously item after item starting with the first state variable, which is stored in slot 0. For each variable, a size in bytes is determined according to its type. Multiple, contiguous items that need less than 32 bytes are packed into a single storage slot if possible, according to the following rules:

  • The first item in a storage slot is stored lower-order aligned.
  • Value types use only as many bytes as are necessary to store them.
  • If a value type does not fit the remaining part of a storage slot, it is stored in the next storage slot.
  • Structs and array data always start a new slot and their items are packed tightly according to these rules.
  • Items following struct or array data always start a new storage slot.

For contracts that use inheritance, the ordering of state variables is determined by the C3-linearized order of contracts starting with the most base-ward contract. If allowed by the above rules, state variables from different contracts do share the same storage slot.

The elements of structs and arrays are stored after each other, just as if they were given as individual values.

Warning

When using elements that are smaller than 32 bytes, your contract’s gas usage may be higher. This is because the EVM operates on 32 bytes at a time. Therefore, if the element is smaller than that, the EVM must use more operations in order to reduce the size of the element from 32 bytes to the desired size.

It might be beneficial to use reduced-size types if you are dealing with storage values because the compiler will pack multiple elements into one storage slot, and thus, combine multiple reads or writes into a single operation. If you are not reading or writing all the values in a slot at the same time, this can have the opposite effect, though: When one value is written to a multi-value storage slot, the storage slot has to be read first and then combined with the new value such that other data in the same slot is not destroyed.

When dealing with function arguments or memory values, there is no inherent benefit because the compiler does not pack these values.

Finally, in order to allow the EVM to optimize for this, ensure that you try to order your storage variables and struct members such that they can be packed tightly. For example, declaring your storage variables in the order of uint128, uint128, uint256 instead of uint128, uint256, uint128, as the former will only take up two slots of storage whereas the latter will take up three.

Note

The layout of state variables in storage is considered to be part of the external interface of Solidity due to the fact that storage pointers can be passed to libraries. This means that any change to the rules outlined in this section is considered a breaking change of the language and due to its critical nature should be considered very carefully before being executed.

Mappings and Dynamic Arrays

Due to their unpredictable size, mappings and dynamically-sized array types cannot be stored “in between” the state variables preceding and following them. Instead, they are considered to occupy only 32 bytes with regards to the rules above and the elements they contain are stored starting at a different storage slot that is computed using a Keccak-256 hash.

Assume the storage location of the mapping or array ends up being a slot p after applying the storage layout rules. For dynamic arrays, this slot stores the number of elements in the array (byte arrays and strings are an exception, see below). For mappings, the slot stays empty, but it is still needed to ensure that even if there are two mappings next to each other, their content ends up at different storage locations.

Array data is located starting at keccak256(p) and it is laid out in the same way as statically-sized array data would: One element after the other, potentially sharing storage slots if the elements are not longer than 16 bytes. Dynamic arrays of dynamic arrays apply this rule recursively. The location of element x[i][j], where the type of x is uint24[][], is computed as follows (again, assuming x itself is stored at slot p): The slot is keccak256(keccak256(p) + i) + floor(j / floor(256 / 24)) and the element can be obtained from the slot data v using (v >> ((j % floor(256 / 24)) * 24)) & type(uint24).max.

The value corresponding to a mapping key k is located at keccak256(h(k) . p) where . is concatenation and h is a function that is applied to the key depending on its type:

  • for value types, h pads the value to 32 bytes in the same way as when storing the value in memory.
  • for strings and byte arrays, h computes the keccak256 hash of the unpadded data.

If the mapping value is a non-value type, the computed slot marks the start of the data. If the value is of struct type, for example, you have to add an offset corresponding to the struct member to reach the member.

As an example, consider the following contract:

// SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-3.0
pragma solidity >=0.4.0 <0.9.0;


contract C {
    struct S { uint16 a; uint16 b; uint256 c; }
    uint x;
    mapping(uint => mapping(uint => S)) data;
}

Let us compute the storage location of data[4][9].c. The position of the mapping itself is 1 (the variable x with 32 bytes precedes it). This means data[4] is stored at keccak256(uint256(4) . uint256(1)). The type of data[4] is again a mapping and the data for data[4][9] starts at slot keccak256(uint256(9) . keccak256(uint256(4) . uint256(1))). The slot offset of the member c inside the struct S is 1 because a and b are packed in a single slot. This means the slot for data[4][9].c is keccak256(uint256(9) . keccak256(uint256(4) . uint256(1))) + 1. The type of the value is uint256, so it uses a single slot.

bytes and string

bytes and string are encoded identically. In general, the encoding is similar to byte1[], in the sense that there is a slot for the array itself and a data area that is computed using a keccak256 hash of that slot’s position. However, for short values (shorter than 32 bytes) the array elements are stored together with the length in the same slot.

In particular: if the data is at most 31 bytes long, the elements are stored in the higher-order bytes (left aligned) and the lowest-order byte stores the value length * 2. For byte arrays that store data which is 32 or more bytes long, the main slot p stores length * 2 + 1 and the data is stored as usual in keccak256(p). This means that you can distinguish a short array from a long array by checking if the lowest bit is set: short (not set) and long (set).

Note

Handling invalidly encoded slots is currently not supported but may be added in the future. If you are compiling via the experimental IR-based compiler pipeline, reading an invalidly encoded slot results in a Panic(0x22) error.

JSON Output

The storage layout of a contract can be requested via the standard JSON interface. The output is a JSON object containing two keys, storage and types. The storage object is an array where each element has the following form:

{
    "astId": 2,
    "contract": "fileA:A",
    "label": "x",
    "offset": 0,
    "slot": "0",
    "type": "t_uint256"
}

The example above is the storage layout of contract A { uint x; } from source unit fileA and

  • astId is the id of the AST node of the state variable’s declaration
  • contract is the name of the contract including its path as prefix
  • label is the name of the state variable
  • offset is the offset in bytes within the storage slot according to the encoding
  • slot is the storage slot where the state variable resides or starts. This number may be very large and therefore its JSON value is represented as a string.
  • type is an identifier used as key to the variable’s type information (described in the following)

The given type, in this case t_uint256 represents an element in types, which has the form:

{
    "encoding": "inplace",
    "label": "uint256",
    "numberOfBytes": "32",
}

where

  • encoding how the data is encoded in storage, where the possible values are:
    • inplace: data is laid out contiguously in storage (see above).
    • mapping: Keccak-256 hash-based method (see above).
    • dynamic_array: Keccak-256 hash-based method (see above).
    • bytes: single slot or Keccak-256 hash-based depending on the data size (see above).
  • label is the canonical type name.
  • numberOfBytes is the number of used bytes (as a decimal string). Note that if numberOfBytes > 32 this means that more than one slot is used.

Some types have extra information besides the four above. Mappings contain its key and value types (again referencing an entry in this mapping of types), arrays have its base type, and structs list their members in the same format as the top-level storage (see above).

Note

The JSON output format of a contract’s storage layout is still considered experimental and is subject to change in non-breaking releases of Solidity.

The following example shows a contract and its storage layout, containing value and reference types, types that are encoded packed, and nested types.

// SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-3.0
pragma solidity >=0.4.0 <0.9.0;
contract A {
    struct S {
        uint128 a;
        uint128 b;
        uint[2] staticArray;
        uint[] dynArray;
    }

    uint x;
    uint y;
    S s;
    address addr;
    mapping (uint => mapping (address => bool)) map;
    uint[] array;
    string s1;
    bytes b1;
}
"storageLayout": {
  "storage": [
    {
      "astId": 14,
      "contract": "fileA:A",
      "label": "x",
      "offset": 0,
      "slot": "0",
      "type": "t_uint256"
    },
    {
      "astId": 16,
      "contract": "fileA:A",
      "label": "y",
      "offset": 0,
      "slot": "1",
      "type": "t_uint256"
    },
    {
      "astId": 18,
      "contract": "fileA:A",
      "label": "s",
      "offset": 0,
      "slot": "2",
      "type": "t_struct(S)12_storage"
    },
    {
      "astId": 20,
      "contract": "fileA:A",
      "label": "addr",
      "offset": 0,
      "slot": "6",
      "type": "t_address"
    },
    {
      "astId": 26,
      "contract": "fileA:A",
      "label": "map",
      "offset": 0,
      "slot": "7",
      "type": "t_mapping(t_uint256,t_mapping(t_address,t_bool))"
    },
    {
      "astId": 29,
      "contract": "fileA:A",
      "label": "array",
      "offset": 0,
      "slot": "8",
      "type": "t_array(t_uint256)dyn_storage"
    },
    {
      "astId": 31,
      "contract": "fileA:A",
      "label": "s1",
      "offset": 0,
      "slot": "9",
      "type": "t_string_storage"
    },
    {
      "astId": 33,
      "contract": "fileA:A",
      "label": "b1",
      "offset": 0,
      "slot": "10",
      "type": "t_bytes_storage"
    }
  ],
  "types": {
    "t_address": {
      "encoding": "inplace",
      "label": "address",
      "numberOfBytes": "20"
    },
    "t_array(t_uint256)2_storage": {
      "base": "t_uint256",
      "encoding": "inplace",
      "label": "uint256[2]",
      "numberOfBytes": "64"
    },
    "t_array(t_uint256)dyn_storage": {
      "base": "t_uint256",
      "encoding": "dynamic_array",
      "label": "uint256[]",
      "numberOfBytes": "32"
    },
    "t_bool": {
      "encoding": "inplace",
      "label": "bool",
      "numberOfBytes": "1"
    },
    "t_bytes_storage": {
      "encoding": "bytes",
      "label": "bytes",
      "numberOfBytes": "32"
    },
    "t_mapping(t_address,t_bool)": {
      "encoding": "mapping",
      "key": "t_address",
      "label": "mapping(address => bool)",
      "numberOfBytes": "32",
      "value": "t_bool"
    },
    "t_mapping(t_uint256,t_mapping(t_address,t_bool))": {
      "encoding": "mapping",
      "key": "t_uint256",
      "label": "mapping(uint256 => mapping(address => bool))",
      "numberOfBytes": "32",
      "value": "t_mapping(t_address,t_bool)"
    },
    "t_string_storage": {
      "encoding": "bytes",
      "label": "string",
      "numberOfBytes": "32"
    },
    "t_struct(S)12_storage": {
      "encoding": "inplace",
      "label": "struct A.S",
      "members": [
        {
          "astId": 2,
          "contract": "fileA:A",
          "label": "a",
          "offset": 0,
          "slot": "0",
          "type": "t_uint128"
        },
        {
          "astId": 4,
          "contract": "fileA:A",
          "label": "b",
          "offset": 16,
          "slot": "0",
          "type": "t_uint128"
        },
        {
          "astId": 8,
          "contract": "fileA:A",
          "label": "staticArray",
          "offset": 0,
          "slot": "1",
          "type": "t_array(t_uint256)2_storage"
        },
        {
          "astId": 11,
          "contract": "fileA:A",
          "label": "dynArray",
          "offset": 0,
          "slot": "3",
          "type": "t_array(t_uint256)dyn_storage"
        }
      ],
      "numberOfBytes": "128"
    },
    "t_uint128": {
      "encoding": "inplace",
      "label": "uint128",
      "numberOfBytes": "16"
    },
    "t_uint256": {
      "encoding": "inplace",
      "label": "uint256",
      "numberOfBytes": "32"
    }
  }
}