The last article was on character I/O in the standard input/output library <stdio.h>. This article is on formatted input and output. I am assuming a knowledge of c programming on the part of the reader. There is no guarantee of accuracy in any of this information nor suitability for any purpose.
As an example of formatted input output we will read in a file containing a number and a label. We will subtotal the items by label and print out the subtotal with its label along with a total for all subtotals. The example is example3.c and the data file is example3.dat.
The code examples given for each function will typically not run unless the the <angle bracked> items are replaced with real code. Normally these are items that have to be treated differently depending on what you are trying to do. As always, if you see an error in my documentation please tell me and I will correct myself in a later document. See corrections at end of the document to review corrections to the previous articles.
int printf(const char *format, ...);
int fprintf(FILE *stream, const char *format, ...);
int sprintf(char *str, const char *format, ...);
int snprintf(char *str, size_t size, const char *format, ...);
printf is used to print out a formatted sequence of characters to standard out.
printf("We have %d apples.\n", x);
This example prints to stdout "We have 5 apples." with a newline following.
fprintf is used to print out a formatted sequence of characters to a file.
fprintf(stderr, "DEBUG\t%s\t%s\t%f", dateString, messageString, errorNumber);
Could print to stderr, "DEBUG 199808291055 you are here 1234.4567" followed by a newline.
sprintf is used to print out a formatted sequence of characters to a character array.
sprintf(string, "%d", x)
This would create a string that contained the characters '9', '9', '.', '1','2','3','4'. This is the reverse to the atoi function that we will cover next month.
snprint is used to print out a formatted sequence of characters
to a string.
returnValue=sprintf(string, 4, "%d", x)
This will create a string with the characters '9','9','.','1', returnValue will contain a -1 because the field was truncated.
int scanf( const char *format, ...);
int fscanf( FILE *stream, const char *format, ...);
int sscanf( const char *str, const char *format, ...);
These functions return an EOF on a read error, or the number of items that were converted, zero or more.
scanf will read in a format from standard input.
scanf("%f%2d%d", float1, int1, int2)
with the following on stdin:
will set float1=12.34, int1=45 and int2=67.
fscanf will read in a format from the given stream.
fscanf(stdin,"%f%2d%d", float1, int1, int2)
This example is equivilent to the scanf example.
sscanf will read a format from the given string.
sscanf(string, "%f%2d%d", float1, int1, int2)
Will scan string for the float and decimal values.
The format will look like the above examples. A more general desription is as follows:
A format string contains zero or more of the following conversion specifications:
% A conversion specification is introduced with this required character.
flags followed by zero or more flags.
width followed by an optional width field.
precision followed by an optional precision field.
argument followed by an optional argument that differs by specific conversions.
conversion ending in a required conversion type.
These are used to change the default behavior of the conversion.
left justify the field.
+ used a sign with a number conversion.
# use 0 in front of octal conversions, 0x in front of hex conversions and a decimal point with decimal conversions.
0 pad number conversions with leading zeros, ignore if a - is present.
space if a space follows the % then a space will be placed before the output, ignore if a - is present.
The number of characters wide a field is. Spaces are used to pad the extra characters if a value is not as wide as the given width. If the value is larger than this number the field will expand to fit the number.
The minimum number of digits to appear for integer types or the number of digits to apear after a floating point number or the maximum number of characters to print from a string. This takes the form of a decimal point followed by an optional number. If no number is given the precision defaults to 0.
These will be discussed with each relevant conversion. They are h, l, or L.
d int to signed decimal
-9999 or 99
i int to signed decimal -9999 or 99
o unsigned int to unsigned octal 8 becomes 10
u unsigned int to decimal 1 becomes 1
x unsigned int to hexidecimal 13 becomes 1d
X unsigned int to hexidecimal 13 becomes 1D
h is used in front of the above 6 to convert from the short int and unsigned short int to whatever.
l is used in front of the above 6 to convert from the long int and unsigned long int to whatever.
f double to decimal -9999.99 or 99.9
e double to scientific notation -9.999e+99 or 9.9e-9
E double to scientific notation -9.999E+99 or 9.9E-9
g double to decimal (f) or scientific (e) if the # of digits are equal to or greater than the precision.
G double to decimal (f) or scientific (E) if the # of digits are equal to or greater then the precision.
L is used in front of the above 5 to convert from long double to whatever.
c int to unsigned char 65 becomes an A in standard ASCII
s pointer to string prints out the string
n pointer to an int into which the number of characters already written to stream will be placed.
h is used in front of the above 1 to specify a short int.
l is used in front of the above 1 to specify a long int.
% a %% will write out a single %. This is the way to print a % when needed.
A correction to Part Two:
Hej James M. Rogers
You wrote somewhere in "The Standard C Library for Linux, Part Two"
"putchar writes a character to standard out. putchar(x) is
the same as
You probably meant "...fputc(x, STDOUT)".
The Standard C Library, P. J. Plauger, Printice Hall P T R, 1992
The Standard C Library, Parts 1, 2, and 3, Chuck Allison, C/C++ Users Journal, January, February, March 1995
STDIO(3), BSD MANPAGE, Linux Programmer's Manual, 29 November 1993
The Standard C Library for Linux, Part One, James M. Rogers, January 1998
The Standard C Library for Linux, Part Two, James M. Rogers, January 1998