strcpy man page


This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

stpcpy, strcpy — copy a string and return a pointer to the end of the result


#include <string.h>

char *stpcpy(char *restrict s1, const char *restrict s2);
char *strcpy(char *restrict s1, const char *restrict s2);


For strcpy(): The functionality described on this reference page is aligned with the ISO C standard. Any conflict between the requirements described here and the ISO C standard is unintentional. This volume of POSIX.1‐2008 defers to the ISO C standard.

The stpcpy() and strcpy() functions shall copy the string pointed to by s2 (including the terminating NUL character) into the array pointed to by s1.

If copying takes place between objects that overlap, the behavior is undefined.

Return Value

The stpcpy() function shall return a pointer to the terminating NUL character copied into the s1 buffer.

The strcpy() function shall return s1.

No return values are reserved to indicate an error.


No errors are defined.

The following sections are informative.


Construction of a Multi-Part Message in a Single Buffer

#include <string.h>
#include <stdio.h>

main (void)
    char buffer [10];
    char *name = buffer;

    name = stpcpy (stpcpy (stpcpy (name, "ice"),"-"), "cream");
    puts (buffer);
    return 0;

Initializing a String

The following example copies the string "----------" into the permstring variable.

#include <string.h>
static char permstring[11];
strcpy(permstring, "----------");

Storing a Key and Data

The following example allocates space for a key using malloc() then uses strcpy() to place the key there. Then it allocates space for data using malloc(), and uses strcpy() to place data there. (The user-defined function dbfree() frees memory previously allocated to an array of type struct element *.)

#include <string.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>
/* Structure used to read data and store it. */
struct element {
    char *key;
    char *data;

struct element *tbl, *curtbl;
char *key, *data;
int count;
void dbfree(struct element *, int);
if ((curtbl->key = malloc(strlen(key) + 1)) == NULL) {
    perror("malloc"); dbfree(tbl, count); return NULL;
strcpy(curtbl->key, key);

if ((curtbl->data = malloc(strlen(data) + 1)) == NULL) {
    perror("malloc"); free(curtbl->key); dbfree(tbl, count); return NULL;
strcpy(curtbl->data, data);

Application Usage

Character movement is performed differently in different implementations. Thus, overlapping moves may yield surprises.

This version is aligned with the ISO C standard; this does not affect compatibility with XPG3 applications. Reliable error detection by this function was never guaranteed.

See Also

strncpy(), wcscpy()

The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, <string.h>