mbsnrtowcs — convert a multibyte string to a wide-character string


#include <wchar.h>
size_t mbsnrtowcs( wchar_t *dest,
  const char **src,
  size_t nms,
  size_t len,
  mbstate_t *ps);
[Note] Note
Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):
Since glibc 2.10:
_XOPEN_SOURCE >= 700 || _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
Before glibc 2.10:


The mbsnrtowcs() function is like the mbsrtowcs(3) function, except that the number of bytes to be converted, starting at *src, is limited to nms.

If dest is not a NULL pointer, the mbsnrtowcs() function converts at most nms bytes from the multibyte string *src to a wide-character string starting at dest. At most len wide characters are written to dest. The shift state *ps is updated. The conversion is effectively performed by repeatedly calling mbrtowc(dest, *src, n, ps) where n is some positive number, as long as this call succeeds, and then incrementing dest by one and *src by the number of bytes consumed. The conversion can stop for three reasons:

  1. An invalid multibyte sequence has been encountered. In this case *src is left pointing to the invalid multibyte sequence, (size_t) −1 is returned, and errno is set to EILSEQ.

  2. The nms limit forces a stop, or len non-L'\0' wide characters have been stored at dest. In this case *src is left pointing to the next multibyte sequence to be converted, and the number of wide characters written to dest is returned.

  3. The multibyte string has been completely converted, including the terminating null wide character ('\0') (which has the side effect of bringing back *ps to the initial state). In this case *src is set to NULL, and the number of wide characters written to dest, excluding the terminating null wide character, is returned.

If dest is NULL, len is ignored, and the conversion proceeds as above, except that the converted wide characters are not written out to memory, and that no destination length limit exists.

In both of the above cases, if ps is a NULL pointer, a static anonymous state known only to the mbsnrtowcs() function is used instead.

The programmer must ensure that there is room for at least len wide characters at dest.


The mbsnrtowcs() function returns the number of wide characters that make up the converted part of the wide-character string, not including the terminating null wide character. If an invalid multibyte sequence was encountered, (size_t) −1 is returned, and errno set to EILSEQ.




The behavior of mbsnrtowcs() depends on the LC_CTYPE category of the current locale.

Passing NULL as ps is not multithread safe.


iconv(3), mbsrtowcs(3)


This page is part of release 3.52 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at−pages/.

  Copyright (c) Bruno Haible <>

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References consulted:
  GNU glibc-2 source code and manual
  Dinkumware C library reference
  OpenGroup's Single UNIX specification