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C++ Standard Library reference (STL)

A C++ program can call on a large number of functions from this conforming implementation of the C++ Standard Library. These functions perform services such as input and output and provide efficient implementations of frequently used operations.

For more information about linking with the appropriate Visual C++ runtime .lib file, see C runtime (CRT) and C++ Standard Library (STL) .lib files.


Microsoft's implementation of the C++ Standard Library is often referred to as the STL or Standard Template Library. Although C++ Standard Library is the official name of the library as defined in ISO 14882, due to the popular use of "STL" and "Standard Template Library" in search engines, we occasionally use those names to make it easier to find our documentation.

From a historical perspective, "STL" originally referred to the Standard Template Library written by Alexander Stepanov. Parts of that library were standardized in the C++ Standard Library, along with the ISO C runtime library, parts of the Boost library, and other functionality. Sometimes "STL" is used to refer to the containers and algorithms parts of the C++ Standard Library adapted from Stepanov's STL. In this documentation, Standard Template Library (STL) refers to the C++ Standard Library as a whole.

In this section

C++ Standard Library overview Provides an overview of the Microsoft implementation of the C++ Standard Library.

iostream programming Provides an overview of iostream programming.

Header files reference Provides links to reference topics about the C++ Standard Library header files, with code examples.