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gets_s, _getws_s

Updated: January 2010

Get a line from the stdin stream. These are versions of gets, _getws with security enhancements as described in Security Enhancements in the CRT.

char *gets_s( 
   char *buffer,
   size_t sizeInCharacters
wchar_t *_getws_s( 
   wchar_t *buffer,
   size_t sizeInCharacters
template <size_t size>
char *gets_s( 
   char (&buffer)[size]
); // C++ only
template <size_t size>
wchar_t *_getws_s( 
   wchar_t (&buffer)[size]
); // C++ only

[out] buffer

Storage location for input string.

[in] sizeInCharacters

The size of the buffer.

Returns buffer if successful. A NULL pointer indicates an error or end-of-file condition. Use ferror or feof to determine which one has occurred.

The gets_s function reads a line from the standard input stream stdin and stores it in buffer. The line consists of all characters up to and including the first newline character ('\n'). gets_s then replaces the newline character with a null character ('\0') before returning the line. In contrast, the fgets_s function retains the newline character.

If the first character read is the end-of-file character, a null character is stored at the beginning of buffer and NULL is returned.

_getws is a wide-character version of gets_s; its argument and return value are wide-character strings.

If buffer is NULL or sizeInCharacters is less than or equal to zero, or if the buffer is too small to contain the input line and null terminator, these functions invoke an invalid parameter handler, as described in Parameter Validation. If execution is allowed to continue, these functions return NULL and set errno to ERANGE.

In C++, using these functions is simplified by template overloads; the overloads can infer buffer length automatically (eliminating the need to specify a size argument) and they can automatically replace older, non-secure functions with their newer, secure counterparts. For more information, see Secure Template Overloads.

Generic-Text Routine Mappings

TCHAR.H routine

_UNICODE & _MBCS not defined

_MBCS defined

_UNICODE defined






Required header




<stdio.h> or <wchar.h>

For additional compatibility information, see Compatibility in the Introduction.

// crt_gets_s.c
// This program retrieves a string from the stdin and 
// prints the same string to the console.

#include <stdio.h>

int main( void )
   char line[21]; // room for 20 chars + '\0'
   gets_s( line, 20 );
   printf( "The line entered was: %s\n", line );
Hello there!The line entered was: Hello there!




January 2010

Updated the error return value.

Content bug fix.