Popular String Fuctions in C [With Examples]

Strings in C language are an array of characters ended with null characters (‘\0’). The null character at the end of a string indicates its end and the strings are always enclosed by double-quotes. In C language characters are enclosed by single quotes. Some examples of both of them shown below;

Example or Representation of C Characters and Strings

  • char string[10] = { ‘s’,’d’,’f’,’d’,’t’,’j’,’a’,’\0’ };
  • char string[10]=” fresher”;
  • char string[]=” fresher”;

There is a minor difference between the declarations of the strings in both of the above statements. Like when we declare char as string[10], 10 bytes of memory space gets allocated to hold the 10 values of string, while when we declare it like string[] then memory gets allocated at the time of execution of the program.

String Declaration and Initialization

In C programming, the strings can be declared in two ways as shown above. In C programming, a string is a sequence of characters that are terminated with a null or ‘\0’ character. An example of the same is given below:

char temp[]=” temp string”;

When a string of character is declared of char type that is enclosed in a double quotation mark, then \0 is automatically appended at the end of the string. For example:

char temp[]=” temp string”;

t e m p   s t r i n g \0

String Declaration

A string in language C is declared in the following manner:

char temp[5];


  s[0]      s[1]      s[2]      s[3]      s[4]

In this way, we can initialize a string of length 5.

String Initialization

String initialization can be done in many ways and some of them are given below:

 char t[]=” temp string”;

char t[10]=” temp string”;

char t[]={‘t’,’e’,’m’, ‘d’,’\0’};

char t[5]={‘t’,’e’,’m’, ‘d’,’\0’};

T e m p \0

t[0]       t[1]      t[2]      t[3]      t[4]

In the above type of declaration, we can only store the strings that have only four characters, while if you want to store five characters in such string or array, then you may need the character array of more length.

Read: String Array In Java: Java String Array With Coding Examples

Assigning Values to Strings

Arrays and strings do not support the assignment operators. Once the strings are declared you cannot assign the values to string type variables. For example in C language we cannot write and assign the values in the following way:

char t[100];

t=” temp value”;

String Handling in C

Now we are going to enlist some of the popular string functions in C that make the string handling quite easier. Multiple operations on the string like reading the String, Copy or Reversing the String and many other operations can be easily performed on the strings by using these functions.

String operators or string functions can be used directly to manipulate the strings. Here, in this article we will explain the library functions like gets(), puts(), strlen(), strcopy(), and many others to explain the string handling in C.

Sometimes programmers have to write the string functions to manipulate them as per the required problem. However, string manipulation can be done manually, but this can make the programming quite complex and large.

There is a standard library of string functions in C that is known as “string.h”. This header file with extension “.h” has many string handling functions that have different syntax. We are going to discuss a few of them in the below section of this article:

List of some Common String Handling Functions in C

Function Description
strlen() Can compute the length of the string
Strcpy() Can copy the content of a string to another
Strcat() Is used to concatenate or join two strings
Strcmp() Can compare two strings
Strlwr() Can convert the string to lowercase
Strupr() Is used to convert the letters of string to uppercase
Strrev() Is used to reverse the string

When you have to use any of the string handling functions in your program, the functions are not limited only to these many. There are many other functions as well. So, let’s discuss them:

1) puts() and gets()

The two popular functions of string header file gets and puts are used to take the input from the user and display the string respectively. Both of these functions are defined in string.h file. Let’s see one example of these functions:

#include main()

Int main()


char temp[20];

printf(“Enter your Name”);


printf(“My Name is: ”);


return 0;


2) strcat()

For the cases when one string has to be appended at the end of another string, this function is being used. Function strcat can append a copy of the source string at the end of the destination string. User has to pass two arguments that are described below:

i) src

ii) dest

Here at the place of “src” string is specified, while at the place of ‘dest’ the destination string in which we have to append the source string is specified.



int main()


char src[20]= “ before”;

char dest[20]= “after ”;

strcat(dest, src);


return 0;


The output will be: after before

3) Function strlen()

One more function of string header file that can be directly used for the strings is strlen(). You can use the function strlen(), the string function in C, when you have to find out the length of any string. However, one can also write a program manually to find out the length of any string, but the use of this direct function can save your time and the example is given below:


int main()


int length;

char s[20] = “We are Here”;


printf(“\Length of the string is = %d \n”, length);

return 0;


Length of the string is = 11

4) Function strcpy()

If you have to copy the content of one string to another string, then this function is being used. Syntax of the function is strcpy(dest,source). The function can copy the content of one string to another. One example of the function is given below:


int main()


char src[20]= “ Destination”;

char dest[20]= “”;

printf(“\n source string is = %s”, src);

printf(“\n destination string is = %s”, dest);

strcpy(dest, src);

printf (“\ntarget string after strcpy() = %s”, dest);

return 0;



Source string is = Destination

Target string is =

Target string after strcpy() = Destination

Learn: StringBuffer vs. StringBuilder: Difference Between StringBuffer & StringBuilder

5) Function strcmp()

To compare two strings to know whether they are same or not we can use strcmp() function. The function returns a definite value that may be either 0,  >0, or <0. In this function, the two values passed are treated as case sensitive means ‘A’ and ‘a’ are treated as different letters. The values returned by the function are used as:

i) 0 is returned when two strings are the same

ii) If str1<str2 then a negative value is returned

iii) If str1>str2 then a positive value is returned




int main()


char str1[]=”copy”;

char str2[]=”Trophy”;

int I,j,k;

i=strcmp(str1, “copy”);

j=strcmp(str1, str2);

k-strcmp(str1, “f”);

printf(“\n %d %d %d”,I,j,k);

return 0;


Output: 0  -1  1

6) Functions strlwr() / strupr()

Sometimes you may need to convert the lowercase letters of any string to the uppercase or vice-versa. For this purpose there are two direct string functions in C, they can be used to perform the conversions either from upper to lower case or vice-versa. Here, we have explained an example of the same:



int main()


char str[]=”CONVERT me To the Lower Case”;

printf(“%s\n”, strlwr(str));

return 0;


Output: convert me to the lower case

Similarly, if we will use the strupr function in place of strlwr, then all the content will be converted to the upper case letters. We can use the strupr function, defined in the string header file. Through this function, all letters of the string are converted, that too without any long manual procedure.

7) Function strrev()

If you want to reverse any string without writing any huge or extensive program manually, then you can use this function. Function strrev() is used to reverse the content of the string. Strrev function is used to check the nature of string, whether the given string is a palindrome or not. Several other uses and applications are also present of the string reverse function. One of its uses is given below:



int main()


char temp[20]=”Reverse”;

printf(“String before reversing is : %s\n”, temp);

printf(“String after strrev() :%s”, strrev(temp));

return 0;


Some more String Handling Functions with Purpose:

As we said earlier that there exist more string functions in C. Some other commonly used functions for string handling in C are:

Function Purpose
strchr() It returns a pointer to the  first occurrence of char in str1
strdup() It can duplicate the string
strset() Sets all characters of a string to the given character
strrchr() Used to locate the occurrence of a first pointing character

Also Read: Scanner Class in Java: Types of Constructors & Methods, How to Use

Final Words

Just like every other language C, also has a vast library of ready-to-use or in-built functions. To handle any string of characters, you can use these functions directly. However, the functions are not limited to these ones. There are many other string functions in C in the header file. Major benefit of them is to cut the time and length of coding.

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