Formatted Console I/O Functions

  • Formatted Console I/O functions allow us to supply the input in a fixed format and let us obtain the output in the specified form.

  • The format string can contain:

  1. Characters that are simply printed as they are

  2. Conversion specifications that begin with a % sign

  3. Escape sequences that begin with a \ sign 

  • Example:

  • The %d and %f used in the printf( ) are called format specifiers. They tell printf( ) to print the value of average as a decimal integer and the value of percentage as a float. 

Optional specifiers in the format specifiers:




Digits specifying field width


Decimal point separating field width from precision (precision stands for the number of places after the decimal point)


Digits specifying precision


minus sign for left justifying the output in the specified field width

Escape Sequence:

Esc. Seq.



New line




From feed


Single quote






Carriage return




Double quote

  • \b moves the cursor one position to the left of its current position. 

  • \r takes the cursor to the beginning of the line in which it is currently placed. 

  • \a alerts the user by sounding the speaker inside the computer.

Sprintf( ) Functions:

  • The sprintf( ) function is similar to the printf( ) function except instead of sending the output to the screen as printf( ) does, this function writes the output to an array of characters. 

  • The printf( ) prints out the values on the screen, whereas sprintf( ) stores the values in the character array.