# vprintf, vfprintf, vsprintf, vsnprintf, vprintf_s, vfprintf_s, vsprintf_s, vsnprintf_s

< c‎ | io

C
 Language Headers Type support Program utilities Variadic function support Error handling Dynamic memory management Date and time utilities Strings library Algorithms Numerics Input/output support Localization support Atomic operations (C11) Thread support (C11) Technical Specifications

File input/output
Functions
File access
 fopenfopen_s(C11) freopenfreopen_s(C11) fwide(C95)
Direct input/output
Unformatted input/output
 fgetc fgets fputc fputs getchar getsgets_s(until C11)(since C11) putchar puts ungetc
 fgetwcgetwc(C95)(C95) fgetws(C95) fputwcputwc(C95)(C95) fputws(C95) getwchar(C95) putwchar(C95) ungetwc(C95)
Formatted input
 scanffscanfsscanfscanf_sfscanf_ssscanf_s(C11)(C11)(C11) wscanffwscanfswscanfwscanf_sfwscanf_sswscanf_s(C95)(C95)(C95)(C11)(C11)(C11)
 vscanfvfscanfvsscanfvscanf_svfscanf_svsscanf_s(C99)(C99)(C99)(C11)(C11)(C11) vwscanfvfwscanfvswscanfvwscanf_svfwscanf_svswscanf_s(C99)(C99)(C99)(C11)(C11)(C11)
Formatted output
 printffprintfsprintfsnprintfprintf_sfprintf_ssprintf_ssnprintf_s(C99)(C11)(C11)(C11)(C11) wprintffwprintfswprintfwprintf_sfwprintf_sswprintf_ssnwprintf_s(C95)(C95)(C95)(C11)(C11)(C11)(C11)
 vprintfvfprintfvsprintfvsnprintfvprintf_svfprintf_svsprintf_svsnprintf_s(C99)(C11)(C11)(C11)(C11) vwprintfvfwprintfvswprintfvwprintf_svfwprintf_svswprintf_svsnwprintf_s(C95)(C95)(C95)(C11)(C11)(C11)(C11)
File positioning
Error handling
Operations on files

 Defined in header  (1) ​int vprintf( const char *format, va_list vlist );​ (until C99) ​int vprintf( const char *restrict format, va_list vlist );​ (since C99) (2) int vfprintf( FILE *stream, const char *format, va_list vlist ); (until C99) int vfprintf( FILE *restrict stream, const char *restrict format,               va_list vlist ); (since C99) (3) int vsprintf( char *buffer, const char *format, va_list vlist ); (until C99) int vsprintf( char *restrict buffer, const char *restrict format,               va_list vlist ); (since C99) int vsnprintf( char *restrict buffer, size_t bufsz,                const char *restrict format, va_list vlist ); (4) (since C99) int vprintf_s( const char *restrict format, va_list arg); (5) (since C11) int vfprintf_s( FILE *restrict stream, const char *restrict format,                 va_list arg); (6) (since C11) int vsprintf_s( char *restrict buffer, rsize_t bufsz,                 const char *restrict format, va_list arg); (7) (since C11) int vsnprintf_s(char *restrict buffer, rsize_t bufsz,                 const char *restrict format, va_list arg); (8) (since C11)

Loads the data from the locations, defined by vlist, converts them to character string equivalents and writes the results to a variety of sinks.

1) Writes the results to stdout.
2) Writes the results to a file stream stream.
3) Writes the results to a character string buffer.
4) Writes the results to a character string buffer. At most buf_size - 1 characters are written. The resulting character string will be terminated with a null character, unless buf_size is zero. If buf_size is zero, nothing is written and buffer may be a null pointer, however the return value (number of bytes that would be written not including the null terminator) is still calculated and returned.
5-8) Same as (1-4), except that the following errors are detected at runtime and call the currently installed constraint handler function:
• the conversion specifier %n is present in format
• any of the arguments corresponding to %s is a null pointer
• format or buffer is a null pointer
• bufsz is zero or greater than RSIZE_MAX
• encoding errors occur in any of string and character conversion specifiers
• (for vsprintf_s only), the string to be stored in buffer (including the trailing null)) would be exceed bufsz
As with all bounds-checked functions, vprintf_s , vfprintf_s, vsprintf_s, and vsnprintf_s are only guaranteed to be available if __STDC_LIB_EXT1__ is defined by the implementation and if the user defines __STDC_WANT_LIB_EXT1__ to the integer constant 1 before including stdio.h.

### Parameters

stream - output file stream to write to
buffer - pointer to a character string to write to
bufsz - up to bufsz - 1 characters may be written, plus the null terminator
format - pointer to a null-terminated character string specifying how to interpret the data.

The format string consists of ordinary multibyte characters (except %), which are copied unchanged into the output stream, and conversion specifications. Each conversion specification has the following format:

• introductory % character
• (optional) one or more flags that modify the behavior of the conversion:
• -: the result of the conversion is left-justified within the field (by default it is right-justified)
• +: the sign of signed conversions is always prepended to the result of the conversion (by default the result is preceded by minus only when it is negative)
• space: if the result of a signed conversion does not start with a sign character, or is empty, space is prepended to the result. It is ignored if + flag is present.
• # : alternative form of the conversion is performed. See the table below for exact effects otherwise the behavior is undefined.
• 0 : for integer and floating point number conversions, leading zeros are used to pad the field instead of space characters. For integer numbers it is ignored if the precision is explicitly specified. For other conversions using this flag results in undefined behavior. It is ignored if - flag is present.
• (optional) integer value or * that specifies minimum field width. The result is padded with space characters (by default), if required, on the left when right-justified, or on the right if left-justified. In the case when * is used, the width is specified by an additional argument of type int. If the value of the argument is negative, it results with the - flag specified and positive field width. (Note: This is the minimum width: The value is never truncated.)
• (optional) . followed by integer number or *, or neither that specifies precision of the conversion. In the case when * is used, the precision is specified by an additional argument of type int. If the value of this argument is negative, it is ignored. If neither a number nor * is used, the precision is taken as zero. See the table below for exact effects of precision.
• (optional) length modifier that specifies the size of the argument
• conversion format specifier

The following format specifiers are available:

Conversion
specifier
Explanation Argument type
length modifier hh

(C99)

h (none) l ll

(C99)

j

(C99)

z

(C99)

t

(C99)

L
% writes literal %. The full conversion specification must be %%. N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
c
writes a single character.

The argument is first converted to unsigned char. If the l modifier is used, the argument is first converted to a character string as if by %ls with a wchar_t[2] argument.

N/A N/A
int
wint_t
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
s
writes a character string

The argument must be a pointer to the initial element of an array of characters. Precision specifies the maximum number of bytes to be written. If Precision is not specified, writes every byte up to and not including the first null terminator. If the l specifier is used, the argument must be a pointer to the initial element of an array of wchar_t, which is converted to char array as if by a call to wcrtomb with zero-initialized conversion state.

N/A N/A
char*
wchar_t*
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
d
i
converts a signed integer into decimal representation [-]dddd.

Precision specifies the minimum number of digits to appear. The default precision is 1.
If both the converted value and the precision are 0 the conversion results in no characters.

signed char
short
int
long
long long
signed size_t
N/A
o
converts a unsigned integer into octal representation oooo.

Precision specifies the minimum number of digits to appear. The default precision is 1. If both the converted value and the precision are 0 the conversion results in no characters. In the alternative implementation precision is increased if necessary, to write one leading zero. In that case if both the converted value and the precision are 0, single 0 is written.

unsigned char
unsigned short
unsigned int
unsigned long
unsigned long long
unsigned version of ptrdiff_t
N/A
x
X
converts an unsigned integer into hexadecimal representation hhhh.

For the x conversion letters abcdef are used.
For the X conversion letters ABCDEF are used.
Precision specifies the minimum number of digits to appear. The default precision is 1. If both the converted value and the precision are 0 the conversion results in no characters. In the alternative implementation 0x or 0X is prefixed to results if the converted value is nonzero.

N/A
u
converts an unsigned integer into decimal representation dddd.

Precision specifies the minimum number of digits to appear. The default precision is 1. If both the converted value and the precision are 0 the conversion results in no characters.

N/A
f
F
converts floating-point number to the decimal notation in the style [-]ddd.ddd.

Precision specifies the minimum number of digits to appear after the decimal point character. The default precision is 6. In the alternative implementation decimal point character is written even if no digits follow it. For infinity and not-a-number conversion style see notes.

N/A N/A
double
double (C99)
N/A N/A N/A N/A
long double
e
E
converts floating-point number to the decimal exponent notation.

For the e conversion style [-]d.ddde±dd is used.
For the E conversion style [-]d.dddE±dd is used.
The exponent contains at least two digits, more digits are used only if necessary. If the value is 0, the exponent is also 0. Precision specifies the minimum number of digits to appear after the decimal point character. The default precision is 6. In the alternative implementation decimal point character is written even if no digits follow it. For infinity and not-a-number conversion style see notes.

N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
a
A

(C99)

converts floating-point number to the hexadecimal exponent notation.

For the a conversion style [-]0xh.hhhp±d is used.
For the A conversion style [-]0Xh.hhhP±d is used.
The first hexadecimal digit is 0 if the argument is not a normalized floating point value. If the value is 0, the exponent is also 0. Precision specifies the minimum number of digits to appear after the decimal point character. The default precision is sufficient for exact representation of the value. In the alternative implementation decimal point character is written even if no digits follow it. For infinity and not-a-number conversion style see notes.

N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
g
G
converts floating-point number to decimal or decimal exponent notation depending on the value and the precision.

For the g conversion style conversion with style e or f will be performed.
For the G conversion style conversion with style E or F will be performed.
Let P equal the precision if nonzero, 6 if the precision is not specified, or 1 if the precision is 0. Then, if a conversion with style E would have an exponent of X:

• if P > X ≥ −4, the conversion is with style f or F and precision P − 1 − X.
• otherwise, the conversion is with style e or E and precision P − 1.

Unless alternative representation is requested the trailing zeros are removed, also the decimal point character is removed if no fractional part is left. For infinity and not-a-number conversion style see notes.

N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
n
returns the number of characters written so far by this call to the function.

The result is written to the value pointed to by the argument. The specification may not contain any flag, field width, or precision.

signed char*
short*
int*
long*
long long*
signed
N/A
p writes an implementation defined character sequence defining a pointer. N/A N/A void* N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

The floating point conversion functions convert infinity to inf or infinity. Which one is used is implementation defined.

Not-a-number is converted to nan or nan(char_sequence). Which one is used is implementation defined.

The conversions F, E, G, A output INF, INFINITY, NAN instead.

Even though %c expects int argument, it is safe to pass a char because of the integer promotion that takes place when a variadic function is called.

The correct conversion specifications for the fixed-width character types (int8_t, etc) are defined in the header <inttypes.h> (although PRIdMAX, PRIuMAX, etc is synonymous with %jd, %ju, etc).

The memory-writing conversion specifier %n is a common target of security exploits where format strings depend on user input and is not supported by the bounds-checked printf_s family of functions.

There is a sequence point after the action of each conversion specifier; this permits storing multiple %n results in the same variable or, as an edge case, printing a string modified by an earlier %n within the same call.

If a conversion specification is invalid, the behavior is undefined.

vlist - variable argument list containing the data to print

### Return value

1-3) The number of characters written if successful or negative value if an error occurred.
4) The number of characters written if successful or negative value if an error occurred. If the resulting string gets truncated due to buf_size limit, function returns the total number of characters (not including the terminating null-byte) which would have been written, if the limit was not imposed.
5,6) number of characters transmitted to the output stream or negative value if an output error, a runtime constrants violation error, or an encoding error occurred.
7) number of characters written to buffer, not counting the null character (which is always written as long as buffer is not a null pointer and bufsz is not zero and not greater than RSIZE_MAX), or zero on runtime constraint violations, and negative value on encoding errors
8) number of characters not including the terminating null character (which is always written as long as buffer is not a null pointer and bufsz is not zero and not greater than RSIZE_MAX), which would have been written to buffer if bufsz was ignored, or a negative value if a runtime constraints violation or an encoding error occurred

### Notes

All these functions invoke va_arg at least once, the value of arg is indeterminate after the return. These functions do not invoke va_end, and it must be done by the caller.

vsnprintf_s, unlike vsprintf_s, will truncate the result to fit within the array pointed to by buffer.

### Example

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdarg.h>
#include <time.h>

void debug_log(const char *fmt, ...)
{
struct timespec ts;
timespec_get(&ts, TIME_UTC);
char time_buf[100];
size_t rc = strftime(time_buf, sizeof time_buf, "%D %T", gmtime(&ts.tv_sec));
snprintf(time_buf + rc, sizeof time_buf - rc, ".%06ld UTC", ts.tv_nsec / 1000);

va_list args1;
va_start(args1, fmt);
va_list args2;
va_copy(args2, args1);
char buf[1+vsnprintf(NULL, 0, fmt, args1)];
va_end(args1);
vsnprintf(buf, sizeof buf, fmt, args2);
va_end(args2);

printf("%s [debug]: %s\n", time_buf, buf);
}

int main(void)
{
debug_log("Logging, %d, %d, %d", 1, 2, 3);
}

Possible output:

02/20/15 21:58:09.072683 UTC [debug]: Logging, 1, 2, 3

### References

• C11 standard (ISO/IEC 9899:2011):
• 7.21.6.8 The vfprintf function (p: 326-327)
• 7.21.6.10 The vprintf function (p: 328)
• 7.21.6.12 The vsnprintf function (p: 329)
• 7.21.6.13 The vsprintf function (p: 329)
• K.3.5.3.8 The vfprintf_s function (p: 597)
• K.3.5.3.10 The vprintf_s function (p: 598-599)
• K.3.5.3.12 The vsnprintf_s function (p: 600)
• K.3.5.3.13 The vsprintf_s function (p: 601)
• C99 standard (ISO/IEC 9899:1999):
• 7.19.6.8 The vfprintf function (p: 292)
• 7.19.6.10 The vprintf function (p: 293)
• 7.19.6.12 The vsnprintf function (p: 294)
• 7.19.6.13 The vsprintf function (p: 295)
• C89/C90 standard (ISO/IEC 9899:1990):
• 4.9.6.7 The vfprintf function
• 4.9.6.8 The vprintf function
• 4.9.6.9 The vsprintf function