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SCANF(3) Library Functions Manual SCANF(3)

NAME

scanf, fscanf, sscanf, vscanf, vsscanf, vfscanfinput format conversion

SYNOPSIS

#include <stdio.h>
int
scanf(const char *format, ...);
int
fscanf(FILE *stream, const char *format, ...);
int
sscanf(const char *str, const char *format, ...);
#include <stdarg.h>
int
vscanf(const char *format, va_list ap);
int
vsscanf(const char *str, const char *format, va_list ap);
int
vfscanf(FILE *stream, const char *format, va_list ap);

DESCRIPTION

The scanf() family of functions read input according to the given format as described below. This format may contain “conversion specifiers”; the results of such conversions, if any, are stored through a set of pointer arguments.
The scanf() function reads input from the standard input stream stdin, fscanf() reads input from the supplied stream pointer stream, and sscanf() reads its input from the character string pointed to by str.
The vfscanf() function is analogous to vfprintf(3) and reads input from the stream pointer stream using a variable argument list of pointers (see stdarg(3)). The vscanf() function scans a variable argument list from the standard input and the vsscanf() function scans it from a string; these are analogous to the vprintf() and vsprintf() functions, respectively.
Each successive pointer argument must correspond properly with each successive conversion specifier (but see the * conversion below). All conversions are introduced by the % (percent sign) character. The format string may also contain other characters. Whitespace (such as blanks, tabs, or newlines) in the format string match any amount of whitespace, including none, in the input. Everything else matches only itself. Scanning stops when an input character does not match such a format character. Scanning also stops when an input conversion cannot be made (see below).

CONVERSIONS

Following the % character, introducing a conversion, there may be a number of flag characters, as follows:
 
 
*
Suppresses assignment. The conversion that follows occurs as usual, but no pointer is used; the result of the conversion is simply discarded.
 
 
hh
Indicates that the conversion will be one of dioux or n and the next pointer is a pointer to a char (rather than int).
 
 
h
Indicates that the conversion will be one of dioux or n and the next pointer is a pointer to a short int (rather than int).
 
 
l (ell)
Indicates either that the conversion will be one of dioux or n and the next pointer is a pointer to a long int (rather than int), or that the conversion will be one of efg and the next pointer is a pointer to double (rather than float), or that the conversion will be one of sc[.
If the conversion is one of sc[ the expected conversion input is a multibyte character sequence. Each multibyte character in the sequence is converted with a call to the mbrtowc() function. The field width specifies the maximum amount of bytes read from the multibyte character sequence and passed to mbrtowc() for conversion. The next pointer is a pointer to a wchar_t wide-character buffer large enough to accept the converted input sequence including the terminating NUL wide character which will be added automatically.
 
 
ll (ell ell)
Indicates that the conversion will be one of dioux or n and the next pointer is a pointer to a long long int (rather than int).
 
 
L
Indicates that the conversion will be one of efg and the next pointer is a pointer to long double.
 
 
j
Indicates that the conversion will be one of dioux or n and the next pointer is a pointer to an intmax_t (rather than int).
 
 
t
Indicates that the conversion will be one of dioux or n and the next pointer is a pointer to a ptrdiff_t (rather than int).
 
 
z
Indicates that the conversion will be one of dioux or n and the next pointer is a pointer to a size_t (rather than int).
 
 
q
(deprecated) Indicates that the conversion will be one of dioux or n and the next pointer is a pointer to a long long int (rather than int).
In addition to these flags, there may be an optional maximum field width, expressed as a decimal integer, between the % and the conversion. If no width is given, a default of “infinity” is used (with one exception, below); otherwise at most this many characters are scanned in processing the conversion. Before conversion begins, most conversions skip whitespace; this whitespace is not counted against the field width.
The following conversions are available:
 
 
%
Matches a literal ‘%’. That is, “%%” in the format string matches a single input ‘%’ character. No conversion is done, and assignment does not occur.
 
 
d
Matches an optionally signed decimal integer; the next pointer must be a pointer to int.
 
 
D
Equivalent to ld; this exists only for backwards compatibility.
 
 
i
Matches an optionally signed integer; the next pointer must be a pointer to int. The integer is read in base 16 if it begins with ‘0x’ or ‘0X’, in base 8 if it begins with ‘0’, and in base 10 otherwise. Only characters that correspond to the base are used.
 
 
o
Matches an octal integer; the next pointer must be a pointer to unsigned int.
 
 
O
Equivalent to lo; this exists for backwards compatibility.
 
 
u
Matches an optionally signed decimal integer; the next pointer must be a pointer to unsigned int.
 
 
xX
Matches an optionally signed hexadecimal integer; the next pointer must be a pointer to unsigned int.
 
 
eE
Equivalent to f.
 
 
fF
Matches an optionally signed floating-point number; the next pointer must be a pointer to float.
 
 
gG
Equivalent to f.
 
 
aA
Equivalent to f.
 
 
s
Matches a sequence of non-whitespace characters; the next pointer must be a pointer to char, or to wchar_t if the l length modifier is present. The provided array must be large enough to accept and store the whole sequence and the terminating NUL character. The input string stops at whitespace or at the maximum field width, whichever occurs first. If specified, the maximum field length refers to the sequence being scanned rather than the storage space, hence the provided array must be 1 larger for the terminating NUL character.
 
 
c
Matches a sequence of characters consuming the number of bytes specified by the field width (defaults to 1 if unspecified); the next pointer must be a pointer to char, or to wchar_t if the l length modifier is present. There must be enough room for all the characters (no terminating NUL is added). The usual skip of leading whitespace is suppressed. To skip whitespace first, use an explicit space in the format.
 
 
[
Matches a nonempty sequence of characters from the specified set of accepted characters; the next pointer must be a pointer to char, or to wchar_t if the l length modifier is present. There must be enough room for all the characters in the string, plus a terminating NUL character. The usual skip of leading whitespace is suppressed.
The string is to be made up of characters in (or not in) a particular set; the set is defined by the characters between the open bracket [ character and a close bracket ] character. The set excludes those characters if the first character after the open bracket is a circumflex ^. To include a close bracket in the set, make it the first character after the open bracket or the circumflex; any other position will end the set. The hyphen character - is also special; when placed between two other characters, it adds all intervening characters to the set. To include a hyphen, make it the last character before the final close bracket.
For instance, ‘[^]0-9-]’ means the set “everything except close bracket, zero through nine, and hyphen”. The string ends with the appearance of a character not in (or, with a circumflex, in) the set or when the field width runs out.
 
 
p
Matches a pointer value (as printed by ‘%p’ in printf(3)); the next pointer must be a pointer to void.
 
 
n
Nothing is expected; instead, the number of characters consumed thus far from the input is stored through the next pointer, which must be a pointer to int. This is not a conversion, although it can be suppressed with the * flag.
For backwards compatibility, other conversion characters (except ‘\0’) are taken as if they were ‘%d’ or, if uppercase, ‘%ld’, and a `conversion' of ‘%\0’ causes an immediate return of EOF.

RETURN VALUES

These functions return the number of input items assigned, which can be fewer than provided for, or even zero, in the event of a matching failure. Zero indicates that, while there was input available, no conversions were assigned; typically this is due to an invalid input character, such as an alphabetic character for a ‘%d’ conversion. The value EOF is returned if an input failure, such as an end-of-file, occurs before any conversion. If an error or end-of-file occurs after conversion has begun, the number of conversions which were successfully completed is returned.

SEE ALSO

getc(3), mbrtowc(3), printf(3), strtod(3), strtol(3), strtoul(3)

STANDARDS

The functions fscanf(), scanf(), and sscanf() conform to ANSI X3.159-1989 (“ANSI C89”).

HISTORY

The functions scanf(), fscanf(), and sscanf() first appeared in Version 7 AT&T UNIX, and vscanf(), vsscanf(), and vfscanf() in 4.3BSD-Reno.

BUGS

Numerical strings are truncated to 512 characters; for example, %f and %d are implicitly %512f and %512d.
July 17, 2013 OpenBSD-current