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# scanf() and fscanf() in C

In C language, scanf() function is used to read formatted input from stdin. It returns the whole number of characters written in it otherwise, returns a negative value.

Syntax:

`int scanf(const char *characters_set)`

Time Complexity: O(n)

Auxiliary Space: O(n) where n is the length of input.

Many of us know the traditional uses of scanf. Well, here are some of the lesser-known facts

How to read only a part of the input that we need?
For example, consider some input stream that contains only characters followed by an integer or a float. And we need to scan only that integer or float.

Example:

```Input: "this is the value 100",
Input : "this is the value 21.2",
Output : value read is 21.2 ```

## C

 `// C program to demonstrate that``// we can ignore some string``// in scanf()``#include ``int` `main()``{``    ``int` `a;``    ``scanf``(``"This is the value %d"``, &a);``    ``printf``(``"Input value read : a = %d"``, a);``    ``return` `0;``}``// Input  : This is the value 100`

Now, assume we don’t know what the preceding characters are but we surely know that the last value is an integer. How can we scan the last value as an integer?

The below solution works only if the input string has no spaces. For example,

Input

`"blablabla 25"`

## C

 `// C program to demonstrate use of *s``#include ``int` `main()``{``    ``int` `a;``    ``scanf``(``"%*s %d"``, &a);``    ``printf``(``"Input value read : a=%d"``, a);``    ``return` `0;``}`

Output

`Input Value read : 25`

Explanation: The %*s in scanf is used to ignore some input as required. In this case, it ignores the input until the next space or newline. Similarly, if you write %*d it will ignore integers until the next space or newline.

General use of scanf( ):

## C

 `// C program to demonstrate general use of scanf()``#include ``int` `main()``{``    ``int` `a;``    ``scanf``(``"%d"``, &a);``    ``printf``(``"a = %d"``, a);``    ``return` `0;``}`

Input

`2`

Output

`a = 2`

The above fact may not seem like a useful trick at the first glance. In order to understand its usage, let us first see fscanf().

### fscanf Function in C

Tired of all the clumsy syntax to read from files? well, fscanf comes to the rescue. This function is used to read the formatted input from the given stream in the C language.

Syntax:

`int fscanf(FILE *ptr, const char *format, ...) `

fscanf reads from a file pointed by the FILE pointer (ptr), instead of reading from the input stream.

Return Value: It returns zero, if unsuccessful. Otherwise, it returns The input string, if successful.

Time Complexity: O(n)

Auxiliary Space: O(n) where n is the length of the input.

Example 1: Consider the following text file abc.txt

```NAME    AGE   CITY
bef     25    delhi
cce     65    bangalore  ```

Now, we want to read only the city field of the above text file, ignoring all the other fields. A combination of fscanf and the trick mentioned above does this with ease

## C

 `// C Program to demonstrate fscanf``#include ` `// Driver Code``int` `main()``{``    ``FILE``* ptr = ``fopen``(``"abc.txt"``, ``"r"``);``    ``if` `(ptr == NULL) {``        ``printf``(``"no such file."``);``        ``return` `0;``    ``}` `    ``/* Assuming that abc.txt has content in below``       ``format``       ``NAME    AGE   CITY``       ``abc     12    hyderabad``       ``bef     25    delhi``       ``cce     65    bangalore */``    ``char` `buf;``    ``while` `(``fscanf``(ptr, ``"%*s %*s %s "``, buf) == 1)``        ``printf``(``"%s\n"``, buf);` `    ``return` `0;``}`

Output

```CITY
delhi
bangalore ```

Example 2: Consider the following binary file program.bin

```n1    n2    n3
1    5    6
2    10    11
3    15    16
4    20    21```

To read all values of n1, n2 & n3 of the bin, we are using fscanf()

## C

 `#include ``#include ` `struct` `threeNum{``    ``int` `n1, n2, n3;``};` `int` `main(){``    ``int` `n;``    ``struct` `threeNum num;``    ``FILE` `*fptr;``    ``if` `((fptr = ``fopen``(``"program.bin"``,``"rb"``)) == NULL){``        ``printf``(``"Error! opening file"``);``         ``// Program exits if the file pointer returns NULL.``         ``exit``(1);``         ``}``     ``for``(n = 1; n < 5; ++n){``         ``fread``(&num, ``sizeof``(``struct` `threeNum), 1, fptr);``         ``printf``(``"n1: %d\tn2: %d\tn3: %d"``, num.n1, num.n2, num.n3);``     ``}``     ``fclose``(fptr);``     ``return` `0;``}` `//Code submitted by Susobhan Akhuli`

Output

```n1: 1   n2: 5   n3: 6
n1: 2   n2: 10  n3: 11
n1: 3   n2: 15  n3: 16
n1: 4   n2: 20  n3: 21```

Let us see the differences in a tabular form -: