PRINTF(3)               NetBSD Library Functions Manual              PRINTF(3)

NAME
     printf, fprintf, sprintf, snprintf, asprintf, vprintf, vfprintf,
     vsprintf, vsnprintf, vasprintf -- formatted output conversion

LIBRARY
     Standard C Library (libc, -lc)

SYNOPSIS
     #include <stdio.h>

     int
     printf(const char * restrict format, ...);

     int
     fprintf(FILE * restrict stream, const char * restrict format, ...);

     int
     sprintf(char * restrict str, const char * restrict format, ...);

     int
     snprintf(char * restrict str, size_t size, const char * restrict format,
         ...);

     int
     asprintf(char ** restrict ret, const char * restrict format, ...);

     #include <stdarg.h>

     int
     vprintf(const char * restrict format, va_list ap);

     int
     vfprintf(FILE * restrict stream, const char * restrict format,
         va_list ap);

     int
     vsprintf(char * restrict str, const char * restrict format, va_list ap);

     int
     vsnprintf(char * restrict str, size_t size, const char * restrict format,
         va_list ap);

     int
     vasprintf(char ** restrict ret, const char * restrict format,
         va_list ap);

DESCRIPTION
     The printf() family of functions produces output according to a format as
     described below.  The printf() and vprintf() functions write output to
     stdout, the standard output stream; fprintf() and vfprintf() write output
     to the given output stream; sprintf(), snprintf(), vsprintf(), and
     vsnprintf() write to the character string str; and asprintf() and
     vasprintf() write to a dynamically allocated string that is stored in
     ret.

     These functions write the output under the control of a format string
     that specifies how subsequent arguments (or arguments accessed via the
     variable-length argument facilities of stdarg(3)) are converted for out-
     put.

     These functions return the number of characters printed (not including
     the trailing `\0' used to end output to strings).  If an output error was
     encountered, these functions shall return a negative value.

     asprintf() and vasprintf() return a pointer to a buffer sufficiently
     large to hold the string in the ret argument.  This pointer should be
     passed to free(3) to release the allocated storage when it is no longer
     needed.  If sufficient space cannot be allocated, these functions will
     return -1 and set ret to be a NULL pointer.  Please note that these func-
     tions are not standardized, and not all implementations can be assumed to
     set the ret argument to NULL on error.  It is more portable to check for
     a return value of -1 instead.

     snprintf() and vsnprintf() will write at most size-1 of the characters
     printed into the output string (the size'th character then gets the ter-
     minating `\0'); if the return value is greater than or equal to the size
     argument, the string was too short and some of the printed characters
     were discarded.  If size is zero, nothing is written and str may be a
     NULL pointer.

     sprintf() and vsprintf() effectively assume an infinite size.

     The format string is composed of zero or more directives: ordinary char-
     acters (not %), which are copied unchanged to the output stream; and con-
     version specifications, each of which results in fetching zero or more
     subsequent arguments.  Each conversion specification is introduced by the
     character %.  The arguments must correspond properly (after type promo-
     tion) with the conversion specifier.  After the %, the following appear
     in sequence:

     +   An optional field, consisting of a decimal digit string followed by a
         $, specifying the next argument to access.  If this field is not pro-
         vided, the argument following the last argument accessed will be
         used.  Arguments are numbered starting at 1.  If unaccessed arguments
         in the format string are interspersed with ones that are accessed the
         results will be indeterminate.

     +   Zero or more of the following flags:

         `#'          The value should be converted to an ``alternate form''.
                      For c, d, i, n, p, s, and u conversions, this option has
                      no effect.  For o conversions, the precision of the num-
                      ber is increased to force the first character of the
                      output string to a zero (except if a zero value is
                      printed with an explicit precision of zero).  For x and
                      X conversions, a non-zero result has the string `0x' (or
                      `0X' for X conversions) prepended to it.  For a, A, e,
                      E, f, F, g, and G conversions, the result will always
                      contain a decimal point, even if no digits follow it
                      (normally, a decimal point appears in the results of
                      those conversions only if a digit follows).  For g and G
                      conversions, trailing zeros are not removed from the
                      result as they would otherwise be.

         `0' (zero)   Zero padding.  For all conversions except n, the con-
                      verted value is padded on the left with zeros rather
                      than blanks.  If a precision is given with a numeric
                      conversion (d, i, o, u, i, x, and X), the 0 flag is
                      ignored.

         `-'          A negative field width flag; the converted value is to
                      be left adjusted on the field boundary.  Except for n
                      conversions, the converted value is padded on the right
                      with blanks, rather than on the left with blanks or
                      zeros.  A `-' overrides a `0' if both are given.

         ` ' (space)  A blank should be left before a positive number produced
                      by a signed conversion (a, A d, e, E, f, F, g, G, or i).

         `+'          A sign must always be placed before a number produced by
                      a signed conversion.  A `+' overrides a space if both
                      are used.

         `''          Decimal conversions (d, u, or i) or the integral portion
                      of a floating point conversion (f or F) should be
                      grouped and separated by thousands using the non-mone-
                      tary separator returned by localeconv(3).

     +   An optional decimal digit string specifying a minimum field width.
         If the converted value has fewer characters than the field width, it
         will be padded with spaces on the left (or right, if the left-adjust-
         ment flag has been given) to fill out the field width.

     +   An optional precision, in the form of a period `.' followed by an
         optional digit string.  If the digit string is omitted, the precision
         is taken as zero.  This gives the minimum number of digits to appear
         for d, i, o, u, x, and X conversions, the number of digits to appear
         after the decimal-point for a, A, e, E, f, and F conversions, the
         maximum number of significant digits for g and G conversions, or the
         maximum number of characters to be printed from a string for s con-
         versions.

     +   An optional length modifier, that specifies the size of the argument.
         The following length modifiers are valid for the d, i, n, o, u, x, or
         X conversion:

         Modifier          d, i           o, u, x, X            n
         hh                signed char    unsigned char         signed char *
         h                 short          unsigned short        short *
         l (ell)           long           unsigned long         long *
         ll (ell ell)      long long      unsigned long long    long long *
         j                 intmax_t       uintmax_t             intmax_t *
         t                 ptrdiff_t      (see note)            ptrdiff_t *
         z                 (see note)     size_t                (see note)
         q (deprecated)    quad_t         u_quad_t              quad_t *

         Note: the t modifier, when applied to a o, u, x, or X conversion,
         indicates that the argument is of an unsigned type equivalent in size
         to a ptrdiff_t.  The z modifier, when applied to a d or i conversion,
         indicates that the argument is of a signed type equivalent in size to
         a size_t.  Similarly, when applied to an n conversion, it indicates
         that the argument is a pointer to a signed type equivalent in size to
         a size_t.

         The following length modifier is valid for the a, A, e, E, f, F, g,
         or G conversion:

         Modifier    a, A, e, E, f, F, g, G
         l (ell)     double (ignored, same behavior as without it)
         L           long double

         The following length modifier is valid for the c or s conversion:

         Modifier    c         s
         l (ell)     wint_t    wchar_t *

     +   A character that specifies the type of conversion to be applied.

     A field width or precision, or both, may be indicated by an asterisk `*'
     or an asterisk followed by one or more decimal digits and a `$' instead
     of a digit string.  In this case, an int argument supplies the field
     width or precision.  A negative field width is treated as a left adjust-
     ment flag followed by a positive field width; a negative precision is
     treated as though it were missing.  If a single format directive mixes
     positional (nn$) and non-positional arguments, the results are undefined.

     The conversion specifiers and their meanings are:

     diouxX  The int (or appropriate variant) argument is converted to signed
             decimal (d and i), unsigned octal (o), unsigned decimal (u), or
             unsigned hexadecimal (x and X) notation.  The letters ``abcdef''
             are used for x conversions; the letters ``ABCDEF'' are used for X
             conversions.  The precision, if any, gives the minimum number of
             digits that must appear; if the converted value requires fewer
             digits, it is padded on the left with zeros.

     DOU     The long int argument is converted to signed decimal, unsigned
             octal, or unsigned decimal, as if the format had been ld, lo, or
             lu respectively.  These conversion characters are deprecated, and
             will eventually disappear.

     eE      The double argument is rounded and converted in the style
             [-]d.ddde+-dd where there is one digit before the decimal-point
             character and the number of digits after it is equal to the pre-
             cision; if the precision is missing, it is taken as 6; if the
             precision is zero, no decimal-point character appears.  An E con-
             version uses the letter `E' (rather than `e') to introduce the
             exponent.  The exponent always contains at least two digits; if
             the value is zero, the exponent is 00.

             For a, A, e, E, f, F, g, and G conversions, positive and negative
             infinity are represented as inf and -inf respectively when using
             the lowercase conversion character, and INF and -INF respectively
             when using the uppercase conversion character.  Similarly, NaN is
             represented as nan when using the lowercase conversion, and NAN
             when using the uppercase conversion.

     fF      The double argument is rounded and converted to decimal notation
             in the style [-]ddd.ddd, where the number of digits after the
             decimal-point character is equal to the precision specification.
             If the precision is missing, it is taken as 6; if the precision
             is explicitly zero, no decimal-point character appears.  If a
             decimal point appears, at least one digit appears before it.

     gG      The double argument is converted in style f or e (or in style F
             or E for G conversions).  The precision specifies the number of
             significant digits.  If the precision is missing, 6 digits are
             given; if the precision is zero, it is treated as 1.  Style e is
             used if the exponent from its conversion is less than -4 or
             greater than or equal to the precision.  Trailing zeros are
             removed from the fractional part of the result; a decimal point
             appears only if it is followed by at least one digit.

     aA      The double argument is rounded and converted to hexadecimal nota-
             tion in the style [-]0xh.hhhp[+-]d, where the number of digits
             after the hexadecimal-point character is equal to the precision
             specification.  If the precision is missing, it is taken as
             enough to represent the floating-point number exactly, and no
             rounding occurs.  If the precision is zero, no hexadecimal-point
             character appears.  The p is a literal character `p', and the
             exponent consists of a positive or negative sign followed by a
             decimal number representing an exponent of 2.  The A conversion
             uses the prefix ``0X'' (rather than ``0x''), the letters
             ``ABCDEF'' (rather than ``abcdef'') to represent the hex digits,
             and the letter `P' (rather than `p') to separate the mantissa and
             exponent.

             Note that there may be multiple valid ways to represent floating-
             point numbers in this hexadecimal format.  For example,
             0x3.24p+0, 0x6.48p-1 and 0xc.9p-2 are all equivalent.  The format
             chosen depends on the internal representation of the number, but
             the implementation guarantees that the length of the mantissa
             will be minimized.  Zeroes are always represented with a mantissa
             of 0 (preceded by a `-' if appropriate) and an exponent of +0.

     C       Treated as c with the l (ell) modifier.

     c       The int argument is converted to an unsigned char, and the
             resulting character is written.

             If the l (ell) modifier is used, the wint_t argument shall be
             converted to a wchar_t, and the (potentially multi-byte) sequence
             representing the single wide character is written, including any
             shift sequences.  If a shift sequence is used, the shift state is
             also restored to the original state after the character.

     S       Treated as s with the l (ell) modifier.

     s       The char * argument is expected to be a pointer to an array of
             character type (pointer to a string).  Characters from the array
             are written up to (but not including) a terminating NUL charac-
             ter; if a precision is specified, no more than the number speci-
             fied are written.  If a precision is given, no null character
             need be present; if the precision is not specified, or is greater
             than the size of the array, the array must contain a terminating
             NUL character.

             If the l (ell) modifier is used, the wchar_t * argument is
             expected to be a pointer to an array of wide characters (pointer
             to a wide string).  For each wide character in the string, the
             (potentially multi-byte) sequence representing the wide character
             is written, including any shift sequences.  If any shift sequence
             is used, the shift state is also restored to the original state
             after the string.  Wide characters from the array are written up
             to (but not including) a terminating wide NUL character; if a
             precision is specified, no more than the number of bytes speci-
             fied are written (including shift sequences).  Partial characters
             are never written.  If a precision is given, no null character
             need be present; if the precision is not specified, or is greater
             than the number of bytes required to render the multibyte repre-
             sentation of the string, the array must contain a terminating
             wide NUL character.

     p       The void * pointer argument is printed in hexadecimal (as if by
             `%#x' or `%#lx').

     n       The number of characters written so far is stored into the inte-
             ger indicated by the int * (or variant) pointer argument.  No
             argument is converted.

     %       A `%' is written.  No argument is converted.  The complete con-
             version specification is `%%'.

     The decimal point character is defined in the program's locale (category
     LC_NUMERIC).

     In no case does a non-existent or small field width cause truncation of a
     numeric field; if the result of a conversion is wider than the field
     width, the field is expanded to contain the conversion result.

EXAMPLES
     To print a date and time in the form ``Sunday, July 3, 10:02'', where
     weekday and month are pointers to strings:

           #include <stdio.h>
           fprintf(stdout, "%s, %s %d, %.2d:%.2d\n",
                   weekday, month, day, hour, min);

     To print pi to five decimal places:

           #include <math.h>
           #include <stdio.h>
           fprintf(stdout, "pi = %.5f\n", 4 * atan(1.0));

     To allocate a 128 byte string and print into it:

           #include <stdio.h>
           #include <stdlib.h>
           #include <stdarg.h>
           char *newfmt(const char *fmt, ...)
           {
                           char *p;
                           va_list ap;
                           if ((p = malloc(128)) == NULL)
                                   return (NULL);
                           va_start(ap, fmt);
                           (void) vsnprintf(p, 128, fmt, ap);
                           va_end(ap);
                           return (p);
           }

SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS
     The sprintf() and vsprintf() functions are easily misused in a manner
     which enables malicious users to arbitrarily change a running program's
     functionality through a buffer overflow attack.  Because sprintf() and
     vsprintf() assume an infinitely long string, callers must be careful not
     to overflow the actual space; this is often hard to assure.  For safety,
     programmers should use the snprintf() interface instead.  For example:

     void
     foo(const char *arbitrary_string, const char *and_another)
     {
             char onstack[8];

     #ifdef BAD
             /*
              * This first sprintf is bad behavior.  Do not use sprintf!
              */
             sprintf(onstack, "%s, %s", arbitrary_string, and_another);
     #else
             /*
              * The following two lines demonstrate better use of
              * snprintf().
              */
             snprintf(onstack, sizeof(onstack), "%s, %s", arbitrary_string,
                 and_another);
     #endif
     }

     The printf() and sprintf() family of functions are also easily misused in
     a manner allowing malicious users to arbitrarily change a running pro-
     gram's functionality by either causing the program to print potentially
     sensitive data ``left on the stack'', or causing it to generate a memory
     fault or bus error by dereferencing an invalid pointer.

     %n can be used to write arbitrary data to potentially carefully-selected
     addresses.  Programmers are therefore strongly advised to never pass
     untrusted strings as the format argument, as an attacker can put format
     specifiers in the string to mangle your stack, leading to a possible
     security hole.  This holds true even if the string was built using a
     function like snprintf(), as the resulting string may still contain user-
     supplied conversion specifiers for later interpolation by printf().

     Always use the proper secure idiom:

           snprintf(buffer, sizeof(buffer), "%s", string);

ERRORS
     In addition to the errors documented for the write(2) system call, the
     printf() family of functions may fail if:

     [EILSEQ]           An invalid wide character code was encountered.

     [ENOMEM]           Insufficient storage space is available.

SEE ALSO
     printf(1), fmtcheck(3), printf(9), scanf(3), setlocale(3), wprintf(3)

STANDARDS
     Subject to the caveats noted in the BUGS section below, the fprintf(),
     printf(), sprintf(), vprintf(), vfprintf(), and vsprintf() functions con-
     form to ANSI X3.159-1989 (``ANSI C89'') and ISO/IEC 9899:1999
     (``ISO C99'').  With the same reservation, the snprintf() and vsnprintf()
     functions conform to ISO/IEC 9899:1999 (``ISO C99'').

HISTORY
     The functions snprintf() and vsnprintf() first appeared in 4.4BSD.  The
     functions asprintf() and vasprintf() are modeled on the ones that first
     appeared in the GNU C library.

CAVEATS
     Because sprintf() and vsprintf() assume an infinitely long string,
     callers must be careful not to overflow the actual space; this is often
     impossible to assure.  For safety, programmers should use the snprintf()
     and asprintf() family of interfaces instead.  Unfortunately, the
     snprintf() interfaces are not available on older systems and the
     asprintf() interfaces are not yet portable.

     It is important never to pass a string with user-supplied data as a for-
     mat without using `%s'.  An attacker can put format specifiers in the
     string to mangle your stack, leading to a possible security hole.  This
     holds true even if you have built the string ``by hand'' using a function
     like snprintf(), as the resulting string may still contain user-supplied
     conversion specifiers for later interpolation by printf().

     Be sure to use the proper secure idiom:

           snprintf(buffer, sizeof(buffer), "%s", string);

     There is no way for printf to know the size of each argument passed.  If
     you use positional arguments you must ensure that all parameters, up to
     the last positionally specified parameter, are used in the format string.
     This allows for the format string to be parsed for this information.
     Failure to do this will mean your code is non-portable and liable to
     fail.

     In this implementation, passing a NULL char * argument to the %s format
     specifier will output (null) instead of crashing.  Programs that depend
     on this behavior are non-portable and may crash on other systems or in
     the future.

BUGS
     The conversion formats %D, %O, and %U are not standard and are provided
     only for backward compatibility.  The effect of padding the %p format
     with zeros (either by the `0' flag or by specifying a precision), and the
     benign effect (i.e. none) of the `#' flag on %n and %p conversions, as
     well as other nonsensical combinations such as %Ld, are not standard;
     such combinations should be avoided.

     The printf family of functions do not correctly handle multibyte charac-
     ters in the format argument.

NetBSD 5.0.1                     June 9, 2007                     NetBSD 5.0.1

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©1994 Man-cgi 1.15, Panagiotis Christias <christia@softlab.ntua.gr>
©1996-2014 Modified for NetBSD by Kimmo Suominen