Published May 4, 2022Updated Dec 21, 2022
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In C++, the getline() function converts user input into a character-delimited string and stores them in a variable. If a delimiting character is not specified, then the entire input will be stored.


The getline() function is defined in the <string> header.

#include <string>

getline(cin, string, delim)
  • getline() is part of the <string> header, so it is included at the top of the file.
  • cin is the object in the stream, which would be the user input.
  • string refers to the variable the user input is set to.
  • delim refers to a character that the user’s input is stored up to.

Although not recommended in C++, since it deals with C strings, getline() can be called on the cin object as a member function like this:

cin.getline(string, length, delim)
  • length is the expected size of the character array.

Example 1

#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;
int main() {
string my_str;
cout << "Enter a pet name: ";
getline(cin, my_str);
cout << "My pet's name is " + my_str + "!";

This will output:

Enter a pet name:

If the user then inputs the string "Nimbus", this will be the final output:

My pet's name is Nimbus!

Example 2

In the example above, the user will be prompted to enter a pet name. Then, the getline() function will take the input and set it to the my_str variable. my_str can then be used in the following operations.

The same example of getline(), but called upon the cin object, would look like this:

#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
int main() {
char my_char_array[20];
cout << "Enter a pet name: ";
// Input: Nimbus
cin.getline(my_char_array, 20);
cout << "My pet's name is " << my_char_array << "!";
// Output: My pet's name is Nimbus!

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