gets, _getws

Gets a line from the stdin stream. More secure versions of these functions are available; see gets_s, _getws_s.


These functions are obsolete. Beginning in Visual Studio 2015, they are not available in the CRT. The secure versions of these functions, gets_s and _getws_s, are still available. For information on these alternative functions, see gets_s, _getws_s.


This API cannot be used in applications that execute in the Windows Runtime. For more information, see CRT functions not supported in Universal Windows Platform apps.


char *gets(
   char *buffer
wchar_t *_getws(
   wchar_t *buffer
template <size_t size>
char *gets(
   char (&buffer)[size]
); // C++ only
template <size_t size>
wchar_t *_getws(
   wchar_t (&buffer)[size]
); // C++ only


Storage location for input string.

Return value

Returns its argument if successful. A NULL pointer indicates an error or end-of-file condition. Use ferror or feof to determine which one has occurred. If buffer is NULL, these functions invoke an invalid parameter handler, as described in Parameter validation. If execution is allowed to continue, these functions return NULL and set errno to EINVAL.


The gets function reads a line from the standard input stream stdin and stores it in buffer. The line consists of all characters up to and including the first newline character ('\n'). gets then replaces the newline character with a null character ('\0') before returning the line. In contrast, the fgets function retains the newline character. _getws is a wide-character version of gets; its argument and return value are wide-character strings.


Because there is no way to limit the number of characters read by gets, untrusted input can easily cause buffer overruns. Use fgets instead.

In C++, these functions have template overloads that invoke the newer, secure counterparts of these functions. For more information, see Secure template overloads.

By default, this function's global state is scoped to the application. To change this behavior, see Global state in the CRT.

Generic-text routine mappings

TCHAR.H routine _UNICODE and _MBCS not defined _MBCS defined _UNICODE defined
_getts gets gets _getws


Routine Required header
gets <stdio.h>
_getws <stdio.h> or <wchar.h>

For more compatibility information, see Compatibility.


// crt_gets.c
// compile with: /WX /W3

#include <stdio.h>

int main( void )
   char line[21]; // room for 20 chars + '\0'
   gets( line );  // C4996
   // Danger: No way to limit input to 20 chars.
   // Consider using gets_s instead.
   printf( "The line entered was: %s\n", line );

Input longer than 20 characters will overrun the line buffer and almost certainly cause the program to crash.

Hello there!The line entered was: Hello there!

See also

Stream I/O
fgets, fgetws
fputs, fputws
puts, _putws