vsscanf - An Implementation for Windows

Environment: VC++ 6.0, Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000

VC++ provides the vsprintf() function but for some strange reason does not provide the complementary vsscanf() function which is available on most Unix systems. The VC++ library defines a static function called input() which is not exposed to end users. This function is exactly what vsscanf() does.

There are two choices that one has:

  • Extract the input() source from the VC++ CRT sources and use it in your code.
  • Use this alternative implementation
Several C++ implementations exist to plug this hole but most of them do not provide the identical API available on Linux. This implementation enhances the CStringEx::Scanf extension written by Rainer Bauer to provide an identical API to that which is available on Linux.

An example usage of vsscanf() (in a Win32 console application with MFC support) is shown below:

#include "stdafx.h"
#include "vsscanf.h"

CWinApp theApp;

using namespace std;

// ProcessNumEmailMsgs takes variable number of parameters and
// uses vsscanf to parse the parameters.
void ProcessNumEmailMsgs(char *input, char *format, ...)
  va_list argList;

  va_start(argList, format);
  vsscanf(input, format, argList);

int _tmain(int argc, TCHAR* argv[], TCHAR* envp[])
  int nRetCode = 0;

  // initialize MFC and print and error on failure
  if (!AfxWinInit( ::GetModuleHandle(NULL),
    // TODO: change error code to suit your needs
    cerr << _T("Fatal Error: MFC initialization failed") << endl;
    nRetCode = 1;
    int startMsg, endMsg, totalMsg;
    char *input = "Showing 1 - 10 of 100";
    char *format = "Showing %d - %d of %d";

    // Variable Number of parameters are passed to this
    // function
    ProcessNumEmailMsgs(input, format, &startMsg, &endMsg, &totalMsg);

    printf("Input String: %s\n", input);
    printf("StartMsg    : %d\n", startMsg);
    printf("EndMsg      : %d\n", endMsg);
    printf("TotalMsg    : %d\n", totalMsg);

  return nRetCode;


Download source and demo project - 12 Kb