Source Forms

Within a program, source code can be in free, fixed, or tab form. Fixed or tab forms must not be mixed with free form in the same source program, but different source forms can be used in different source programs.

All source forms allow lowercase characters to be used as an alternative to uppercase characters.

Several characters are indicators in source code (unless they appear within a comment or a Hollerith or character constant). The following are rules for indicators in all source forms:

  • Comment indicator

    A comment indicator can precede the first statement of a program unit and appear anywhere within a program unit. If the comment indicator appears within a source line, the comment extends to the end of the line.

    An all blank line is also a comment line.

    Comments have no effect on the interpretation of the program unit.

    For more information, see comment indicators in free source form, or fixed and tab source forms.

  • Statement separator

    More than one statement (or partial statement) can appear on a single source line if a statement separator is placed between the statements. The statement separator is a semicolon character (;).

    Consecutive semicolons (with or without intervening blanks) are considered to be one semicolon.

    If a semicolon is the first character on a line, the last character on a line, or the last character before a comment, it is ignored.

  • Continuation indicator

    A statement can be continued for more than one line by placing a continuation indicator on the line. Intel Fortran allows at least 511 continuation lines for a fixed or tab source program and at least 255 continuation lines for a free form source program.

    Comments can occur within a continued statement, but comment lines cannot be continued.

    For more information, see continuation indicators in free source form, or fixed and tab source forms.

The following table summarizes characters used as indicators in source forms.

Indicators in Source Forms

Source Item

Indicator 1

Source Form




All forms

Anywhere in source code

Comment line



At the beginning of the source line

!, C, or *


In column 1


In column 1

Continuation line 2



At the end of the source line

Any character except zero or blank


In column 6

Any digit except zero


After the first tab

Statement separator


All forms

Between statements on the same line

Statement label

1 to 5 decimal digits


Before a statement


In columns 1 through 5


Before the first tab

A debugging statement3



In column 1


In column 1

1 If the character appears in a Hollerith or character constant, it is not an indicator and is ignored.

2 For fixed or tab source form, at least 511 continuation lines are allowed. For free source form, at least 255 continuation lines are allowed.

3 Fixed and tab forms only.

Source form and line length can be changed at any time by using the FREEFORM, NOFREEFORM, or FIXEDFORMLINESIZE directives. The change remains in effect until the end of the file, or until changed again.

You can also select free source form by using compiler option free.

Source code can be written so that it is useable for all source forms.

Statement Labels

A statement label (or statement number) identifies a statement so that other statements can refer to it, either to get information or to transfer control. A label can precede any statement that is not part of another statement.

A statement label must be one to five decimal digits long; blanks and leading zeros are ignored. An all-zero statement label is invalid, and a blank statement cannot be labeled.

Labeled FORMAT and labeled executable statements are the only statements that can be referred to by other statement. FORMAT statements are referred to only in the format specifier of an I/O statement or in an ASSIGN statement. Two statements within a scoping unit cannot have the same label.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.