Share via

Variadic macros

Variadic macros are function-like macros that contain a variable number of arguments.


To use variadic macros, the ellipsis may be specified as the final formal argument in a macro definition, and the replacement identifier __VA_ARGS__ may be used in the definition to insert the extra arguments. __VA_ARGS__ is replaced by all of the arguments that match the ellipsis, including commas between them.

The C Standard specifies that at least one argument must be passed to the ellipsis to ensure the macro doesn't resolve to an expression with a trailing comma. The traditional Microsoft C++ implementation suppresses a trailing comma if no arguments are passed to the ellipsis. When the /Zc:preprocessor compiler option is set, the trailing comma isn't suppressed.


// variadic_macros.cpp
#include <stdio.h>
#define EMPTY

#define CHECK1(x, ...) if (!(x)) { printf(__VA_ARGS__); }
#define CHECK2(x, ...) if ((x)) { printf(__VA_ARGS__); }
#define CHECK3(...) { printf(__VA_ARGS__); }
#define MACRO(s, ...) printf(s, __VA_ARGS__)

int main() {
    CHECK1(0, "here %s %s %s", "are", "some", "varargs1(1)\n");
    CHECK1(1, "here %s %s %s", "are", "some", "varargs1(2)\n");   // won't print

    CHECK2(0, "here %s %s %s", "are", "some", "varargs2(3)\n");   // won't print
    CHECK2(1, "here %s %s %s", "are", "some", "varargs2(4)\n");

    // always invokes printf in the macro
    CHECK3("here %s %s %s", "are", "some", "varargs3(5)\n");

    MACRO("hello, world\n");

    MACRO("error\n", EMPTY); // would cause error C2059, except VC++
                             // suppresses the trailing comma
here are some varargs1(1)
here are some varargs2(4)
here are some varargs3(5)
hello, world

See also

Macros (C/C++)