Your company here, and a link to your site. Click to find out more.

getline - Man Page

delimited string input


Standard C library (libc, -lc)


#include <stdio.h>

ssize_t getline(char **restrict lineptr, size_t *restrict n,
                FILE *restrict stream);
ssize_t getdelim(char **restrict lineptr, size_t *restrict n,
                int delim, FILE *restrict stream);

Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):

getline(), getdelim():

    Since glibc 2.10:
        _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
    Before glibc 2.10:


getline() reads an entire line from stream, storing the address of the buffer containing the text into *lineptr. The buffer is null-terminated and includes the newline character, if one was found.

If *lineptr is set to NULL before the call, then getline() will allocate a buffer for storing the line. This buffer should be freed by the user program even if getline() failed.

Alternatively, before calling getline(), *lineptr can contain a pointer to a malloc(3)-allocated buffer *n bytes in size. If the buffer is not large enough to hold the line, getline() resizes it with realloc(3), updating *lineptr and *n as necessary.

In either case, on a successful call, *lineptr and *n will be updated to reflect the buffer address and allocated size respectively.

getdelim() works like getline(), except that a line delimiter other than newline can be specified as the delimiter argument. As with getline(), a delimiter character is not added if one was not present in the input before end of file was reached.

Return Value

On success, getline() and getdelim() return the number of characters read, including the delimiter character, but not including the terminating null byte ('\0'). This value can be used to handle embedded null bytes in the line read.

Both functions return -1 on failure to read a line (including end-of-file condition). In the event of a failure, errno is set to indicate the error.

If *lineptr was set to NULL before the call, then the buffer should be freed by the user program even on failure.



Bad arguments (n or lineptr is NULL, or stream is not valid).


Allocation or reallocation of the line buffer failed.


For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see attributes(7).

getline(), getdelim()Thread safetyMT-Safe




GNU, POSIX.1-2008.


#define _GNU_SOURCE
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

main(int argc, char *argv[])
    FILE *stream;
    char *line = NULL;
    size_t len = 0;
    ssize_t nread;

    if (argc != 2) {
        fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s <file>\n", argv[0]);

    stream = fopen(argv[1], "r");
    if (stream == NULL) {

    while ((nread = getline(&line, &len, stream)) != -1) {
        printf("Retrieved line of length %zd:\n", nread);
        fwrite(line, nread, 1, stdout);


See Also

read(2), fgets(3), fopen(3), fread(3), scanf(3)

Referenced By

fgetc(3), fparseln.3bsd(3), gets(3), libbsd(7), mk-configure(7), rpmatch(3), scanf(3).

The man page getdelim(3) is an alias of getline(3).

2023-10-31 Linux man-pages 6.7