Using Bitfields in C programming we can access individual bits of a memory location. Bitfields in microcontroller programming can be used to declare register structures and get access to individual bits of the microcontroller registers.
These bitfields can be grouped to form a field of any size needed. Suppose a register field which selects an ADC channel is 3-bit wide then you can declare a field which is 3-bits in size and use it easily.
If you want to declare a 8bit register with one-2bit bitfield, one-3bit bitfield, one-1bit bitfield, then the code will be,
unsigned char Byte;
unsigned char bit012 : 3;
unsigned char bit34 : 2;
unsigned char bit5 : 1;
unsigned char bit6 : 1;
unsigned char bit7 : 1;
// define a pointer and cast it to point to the registers memory location
registerType *pReg = (registerType*)0x00008000;
// use the fields as
pReg->bits.bit5 = 1;
pReg->bits.bit012 = 7;
// access the whole byte as
pReg->Byte = 0x55;
The above example is for a little endian microcontroller, If your microcontroller is a big endian microcontroller then the higher bit fields should be declared first. However todays compilers are smart enough to take care of the endianness of the microcontroller.