Not printing new lines with printf

printf new line
bash printf newline
printf bash
bash printf without newline
echo new line
bash print line
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add new line to file bash

I am currently printing a string using printf("'%.*s'\n", length, start);, where start is a const char* and length is an int.

The string being printed sometimes contains newline characters \n which mess up the formatting, is it possible for them to be replaced with the characters \ and n in the printed output, instead of the \n character. If not, could you help with a function that would replace the characters?

The string is a malloc'd string that is has other references from different pointers so it cannot be changed.

EDIT: I have written the following code which I think does what I need it to

static void printStr(const char* start, int length) {
  char* buffer = malloc(length * sizeof(char));
  int processedCount = 0;
  for(int i = 0; i < length; i++) {
    char c = start[i];
    if(c == '\n') {
      printf("%.*s\\n", processedCount, buffer);
      processedCount = 0;
    } else {
      buffer[processedCount] = c;
  printf("%.*s", processedCount, buffer);

I would implement your custom print function slightly differently:

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <ctype.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <errno.h>

static int output_escaped(FILE *out, const char *str, const char *end)
    int  count = 0;
    while (str < end)
        switch (*str) {
        case '\\': fputs("\\\\", out); count++; break;
        case '\a': fputs("\\a", out);  count++; break;
        case '\b': fputs("\\b", out);  count++; break;
        case '\t': fputs("\\t", out);  count++; break;
        case '\n': fputs("\\n", out);  count++; break;
        case '\v': fputs("\\v", out);  count++; break;
        case '\f': fputs("\\f", out);  count++; break;
        case '\r': fputs("\\r", out);  count++; break;
            if (isprint((unsigned char)(*str)))
                fputc(*str, out);
            else {
                fprintf(out, "\\x%02x", (unsigned char)(*str));
                count += 3; /* Note: incremented by one later */
    return count;

with wrapper functions

int escape(const char *str)
    if (!stdout || !str) {
        errno = EINVAL;
        return -1;
    } else
        return output_escaped(stdout, str, str + strlen(str));

int escapen(const char *str, const size_t len)
    if (!stdout || !str) {
        errno = EINVAL;
        return -1;
    } else
        return output_escaped(stdout, str, str + len);

int fescape(FILE *out, const char *str)
    if (!out || !str) {
        errno = EINVAL;
        return -1;
    } else
        return output_escaped(out, str, str + strlen(str));

int fescapen(FILE *out, const char *str, const size_t len)
    if (!out || !str) {
        errno = EINVAL;
        return -1;
    } else
        return output_escaped(out, str, str + len);

The four wrappers cater for the cases when you want to print the entire thing, or just some len first characters, to stdout or a specific stream. All return the number of characters output, or -1 if an error occurs (and errno set).

Note that this prints \ as \\, and other non-printable characters using a hexadecimal escape sequence \x00 to \xFF. If you want octal (\001 through \377) rather than hexadecimal escapes, use

            else {
                fprintf(out, "\\%03o", (unsigned char)(*str));
                count += 3; /* Note: incremented by one later */


The (unsigned char) casts ensure that the character value is never negative.

C51: '\N' DOES NOT WORK IN PRINTF() STATEMENTS, For example: printf("Hello world\r\n"); Modify the putchar() function such that when it is called to output a line feed, it outputs a carriage return in addition to the line feed. Use a terminal that will treat a line feed character as a newline character (i.e., as a carriage return and line feed). I have the following code that prints the number of parameters passed to ./main. Notice the fmt in the rodata section. I've included the new line , just like in C, but instead of printing the new

There is no need to allocate memory to process the string. Simply, iterate through the original one and print the characters as required. For instance:

#include <stdio.h>

void print(const char * str, int length)
    for (int i = 0; i < length; ++i) {
        if (str[i] == '\n') {
        } else

int main()
    print("hello\nworld!", 12);
    return 0;

Why use trailing newlines instead of leading with printf?, With a leading \n the message may or may not be displayed at once. a line is defined to be a string of characters that's terminated by a newline \n . there was any preceding output and test it to print "Initializing" with an  Since we already learned in previous posts that can be used to print the new line, but there are other ways too, to print new line in c programming language. 0A in hexadecimal (10 in Decimal) is the ASCII value of new line character, we can use \x0A anywhere in the printf () statement to print text in new line.

This is essentially the same thing, but it uses strchr in memory to see exactly how many chars we can write before an escape sequence, and fwrites them all in one. This may be faster then character-at-a-time output, (perhaps related (Not thoroughly tested.)

#include <stdlib.h> /* EXIT_ */
#include <stdio.h>  /* perror fwrite fputs */
#include <string.h> /* strchr */
#include <assert.h>

/** Prints the string, escaping newlines to "\n"; a newline will be added at
 the end.
 @return A non-negative number, otherwise EOF; in the latter case, it shall
 set an error indicator for the stream and (may) set {errno} (IEEE Std
 1003.1-2001-conforming systems?) */
static int printStr(const char* start) {
    const char *so_far = start, *nl;
    size_t nchars;
    while((nl = strchr(so_far, '\n'))) {
        nchars = nl - so_far;
        if(fwrite(so_far, 1, nchars, stdout) != nchars
            || fwrite("\\n", 1, 2, stdout) != 2) return EOF;
        so_far = nl + 1;
    /* The rest. */
    return fputs(so_far, stdout) == EOF || fputc('\n', stdout) == EOF ? EOF : 1;

int main(void) {
    return printStr("Lalala\n\nlalala\n\n") == EOF
        ? perror("string"), EXIT_FAILURE : EXIT_SUCCESS;

It doesn't require length, but you could put in by checking nchars, (if your string was not null-terminated?)

Why doesn't printf escape newlines?, Unix Specification. \n is defined, but \c is actually not, for example. Again, printf receives a \n string and will print a newline. Within double  Consider use printf instead where available. This reference page provides more details and explains very well when and how echo and printf should be used: Nowadays, echo(1) is only portable if you omit flags and escape sequences. Use printf(1) instead, if you need more than plain text.

The code you posted in your question seems to work, except for the potential undefined behavior if memory allocation fails. It can be simplified: there is no need for a temporary buffer, you can print from the supplied array directly, avoiding allocation:

static void printStr(const char *s, int length) {
    int i, j;
    for (i = j = 0; i < length; i++) {
        if (s[i] == '\n') {
            printf("%.*s\\n", i - j, s + j);
    if (i > j) {
        printf("%.*s", i - j, s + j);

printf, printf('\nFirst a carriage return & new line\n'); First a carriage return & new line > printf('then print an integer %d', 101); then print an integer In some cases, Darwin will not respond with an error and the resulting text may appear nonsensical. The sequence \" translates as a literal double-quote; it is escaped with a backslash so that printf knows to treat it as a literal character, and not as the end of the FORMAT string. is the sequence for a newline character, and tells printf to begin a new line and continue the output from there.

C exercises: Print only the string before new line character , \n"; printf("\n Print only the string before new line character :\n"); Next: Write a program in C to check whether a letter is lowercase or not. To make the printf() function display text on a line by itself, insert the newline character into the text string. Don’t bother looking for the newline character on the keyboard; no, it’s not the Enter key.

The surprisingly difficult task of printing newlines in a terminal , Though printf has further options that make it a far more powerful replacement of echo , this utility is not foolproof and can be vulnerable to an  fprintf output line break. The problem I am having is that I have been unable to make each fprintf cmd to print in a new line in the output file so I get

printf not working without newline · Issue #75 · purduesigbots/pros , Expected Behavior: printf will print to the serial port without a newline in its format string Actual Behavior: nothing happens Steps to reproduce:  printf() and scanf() are used together, as in my example, use printf() to prompt user to type in something and then use scanf() to read it in. It is best not to move the curer to a new line. Then how that requirement that printf() should end with newline comes to play? Best practice: Make the prompt be a complete line, with newline and all.

  • Yes, it is possible, but not with printf but by preprocessing the string before printing it.
  • @EugeneSh. I have added some code to preprocess the string, are there any issues with it?
  • If you have an answer to your question, use the "Answer Your Question" button below. Don't edit your question to include the answer, because this is confusing to whoever will read it in future.
  • If you want to avoid all non-printable characters, some sample code.
  • Usually if one wants to '\n' --> "\n", then one needs to also escape a '\' and then '\' --> "\\" to distinguish the cases of a string of backslash and n versus \n.
  • @chux: Good point; thanks! Now fixed. I always misremember the octal escape rules; the sole exception, \0, throws me off. (It makes me think single-octal digit codes are all expressed that way, but they are not. All except zero are three octal digits long.)
  • @chux: Yes, I did a nice headpalm when I edited the code and added the comment, and realized that too. :) And then I realized I missed the first one, and did another. Now my forehead is red. Serves me right for giving a bad example.. But thank you, again, for catching the errors! I really appreciate it.
  • You should not pass char values to isprint(). It is only defined for arguments values in the range of the uni=signed char type and the value EOF. An easy fix is isprint((unsigned char)*str)
  • There are functions to classify characters, like isanum() ( ). Id use that instead of the clumsy switch()...
  • @chqrlie: How did I miss that? My forehead is becoming sore ... Anyway, thanks for pointing that out; now fixed! In fact, I do believe I've been bitten by that at some point years and years ago, when using an ISO 8859-1/15 locale and a localized program doing isprint() or similar checks.