CPP Tutorials

Mastering Strings in C++


In C++, a string is like a container for characters that forms a text. In C, a string is just an array of characters. C++ can work with both types. However, string objects in C++ are more popular because they come with many useful features and functions that make working with text easier. In coding, strings are like those words. They allow your code to understand and work with text, not just numbers. Strings are essential for handling names, sentences, and any other text-based data in your program. In this article, we’ll explore the power of strings, why we need them, and how to use them effectively. So get ready to level up your coding skills with strings!

What is a String in C++?

In C++, a string is like a container that holds a bunch of characters together. It’s part of a special group called “std::string”. Think of it as a tool to manage text. Inside the string, all the letters are kept as a series of tiny memory units called bytes. We use strings when we want to deal with words or sentences in our programs. We can do lots of things with strings, like flipping them around, adding them together, or giving them functions to work with.


string greeting = "Hey there!"; // This creates a string named 'greeting'.

You can do lots of cool things with strings, like joining them together, finding out how long they are, and more!

Different Methods of Defining a String

Defining a string in programming means creating a variable that can hold a sequence of characters, like words or sentences. There are a few ways to define a string:

  • Using Double Quotes: You can directly enclose the characters in double quotes like this:
"Hello, World!"
// This creates a string with the given characters.
  • Using a Character Array: You can also use an array of characters to define a string. For example:
char myString[] = "Hello";
  • Using the string Class: In C++, there’s a special class called string that makes working with strings easier. You can define a string using this class like this:
string greeting = "Hi there!"

Taking String Input

Taking string input in C++ involves reading a sequence of characters that a user types in, which can include spaces and special characters. To achieve this, you use the ‘getline‘ function, which collects input until the user presses the “Enter” key.

  1. Include Necessary Header: At the beginning of your program, include the necessary header for string handling, which is <string>. This header provides functionalities to work with strings.
  2. Declare a String Variable: Declare a variable of type string to store the input. For example, ‘string name;‘.
  3. Use getline Function: To take string input, use the getline function. This function reads a line of text, including spaces, from the input stream (usually the keyboard). It takes two arguments: the input stream (usually cin) and the string variable where the input will be stored. For example, getline(cin, name);.
  4. Display the Input: You can then use the stored string variable in your program, such as displaying a message that includes the user’s input.

Code Example:

#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;

int main() {
    string name;

    cout << "Enter your name: ";
    getline(cin, name); // Taking input with spaces

    cout << "Hello, " << name << "! Nice to meet you." << endl;

    return 0;


Enter your name: coder
Hello, coder! Nice to meet you.


  • Input Function: The ‘getline‘ function is employed to capture a full line of input, including spaces.
  • User efficient: The user is asked to provide their name.
  • Name Storage: The entered name is stored in a string variable.
  • Greeting Message: The program generates a greeting message.
  • Output: The message, along with the user’s name, is displayed as output.

Comparison Between String and Character Array in C++

AspectStringCharacter Array
DefinitionString is a class in C++Character array is a primitive data type
LibraryRequires the <string> libraryNo additional library required
SizeDynamically resizableThe string is a class in C++
Null TerminatorAutomatically adds null-terminatorNeeds a null terminator at the end
FunctionsOffers various member functionsLimited built-in functions
InitializationDirect assignment or constructorDirect initialization
ManipulationSupports easy concatenation, etc.Requires manual handling
AccessArray-like access using []Array-like access using []
Memory ManagementHandles memory automaticallyRequires manual memory management
UsagePreferred for string operationsMore low-level and memory-efficient operations
FlexibilityMore versatile for string handlingLimited flexibility for string handling
Comparison Between String and Character Array in C++

Concatenation of strings

Concatenation of strings is the process of combining two or more strings together to create a single, longer string. In programming, strings are sequences of characters, and concatenation allows you to join these sequences to form meaningful text.

There are several ways to perform string concatenation in C++:

Using the + Operator:

You can use the + operator to concatenate strings. When you use the + operator between two strings, the second string is appended to the end of the first string.

#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;

int main() {
    string greeting = "Coding ";
    string name = "InterviewPro";

    string message = greeting + name; // Concatenation using +

    cout << message << endl;

    return 0;


Coding InterviewPro

Using the += Operator:

You can also use the += operator to append one string to another. This is particularly useful when you want to build a string step by step.

#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;

int main() {
    string sentence = "I love ";
    string activity = "programming.";

    sentence += activity; // Concatenation using +=

    cout << sentence << endl;

    return 0;


I love programming.

Using the append() Function:

The ‘append()‘ function is available for strings, and it can be used to append one string to another.

#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;

int main() {
    string part1 = "This is ";
    string part2 = "a concatenated string.";

    part1.append(part2); // Concatenation using append()

    cout << part1 << endl;

    return 0;


This is a concatenated string.

C++ String Functions

String FunctionDescription
length()Returns the length of the string.
size()Same as ‘length()‘, returns the length of the string.
empty()Returns ‘true‘ if the string is empty, otherwise ‘false‘.
clear()Clears the contents of the string.
append(str)Appends the content of the ‘str‘ at the end of the string.
insert(pos, str)Appends the content of the ‘str‘ at the end of the string.
erase(pos, len)Removes ‘len‘ characters from the string, starting at pos.
replace(pos, len, str)Replaces ‘len‘ characters with the content of ‘str‘ at pos.
substr(pos, len)Returns a new string containing a substring of length ‘len‘ starting from ‘pos‘.
find(str)Returns the position of the first occurrence of ‘str‘ in the string, or npos if not found.
rfind(str)Returns the position of the last occurrence of ‘str‘ in the string, or npos if not found.
compare(str)Compares the string with ‘str‘ and returns 0 if equal, a positive value if greater, and a negative value if smaller.
c_str()Returns a pointer to a C-style null-terminated string.
substr(pos)Returns a new string containing a substring starting from pos.
C++ String Functions

Operations on Strings

Operations on Strings:

Operations on strings in C++ are actions you can perform on text. These operations help manipulate, combine, and analyze strings. Think of a string as a sequence of characters like words or sentences.

Some common operations on strings include:

  • Concatenation: Combining two or more strings together.
  • Length: Finding the number of characters in a string.
  • Accessing Characters: Getting individual characters from a string.
  • Substring: Extracting a portion of a string.
  • Searching: Finding if a specific substring exists in the string.
  • Replacing: Changing a part of the string with another.
  • Converting: Changing the case of characters (uppercase/lowercase).

Input Functions:

Input functions in C++ are tools that let your program gather information from the user during runtime. They help in taking input like numbers, characters, or even entire lines of text from the user.

Here are a couple of common input functions:

  • cin: This lets you take input from the user. You can use it to get numbers or words, and even entire sentences.
  • getline: Specifically used to take a line of text as input, including spaces.
  • get: This lets you take single characters as input.

Real-Life Scenarios of Using Strings

Imagine you have a necklace made of beads, where each bead has a letter on it. When you arrange these beads in a sequence, they form words or sentences. In the world of programming, especially in C++, this necklace is similar to a “string”, and each bead is akin to a character.

Explanation in the context of C++:

In C++, a string is essentially a sequence of characters. Just as in our necklace analogy, where each bead can be different – a letter, a number, or even a special symbol – characters in a string can be letters, digits, punctuation, or other symbols. These characters are arranged in a specific order to represent words, sentences, or any other information.

For instance, let’s consider a book title: “The Coder”. In C++, this title can be stored in a string. Each letter, including spaces, is a character in the string. So, “The Great Gatsby” is a string with 15 characters.

#include<string> // Necessary to use the string class in C++
using namespace std;

int main() {
    string bookTitle = "The Coder";  // Storing the book title in a string
    cout << "One of my favorite books is: " << bookTitle << endl;

    return 0;


One of my favorite books is: The Coder

In everyday activities, we use strings without even realizing it. Whenever you type a message, search for a song title, or enter your name in a form – you’re essentially working with strings. In C++, and most programming languages, strings play a vital role, as they’re used to represent and manipulate text-based information.

Problem Statement and Uses

Problem Statement: Palindrome Checker

A palindrome is a word, phrase, number, or other sequence of characters which reads the same backward or forward. Examples include “radar”, “level”, and the number “12321”.

Your task is to write a C++ program that:

  • Accepts a string as input.
  • Checks whether the provided string is a palindrome.
  • Ignores spaces, and punctuation, and is case-insensitive. (i.e., “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!” should be considered a palindrome.)
  • Outputs “The string is a palindrome!” if the string is a palindrome, and “The string is not a palindrome!” otherwise.


  • Consider creating a helper function to clean the input string (remove spaces, punctuation, and convert to lowercase).
  • Use the cleaned string to determine if it’s a palindrome.


  • Enhance your program to handle multi-line strings. For example, the following is a palindrome:
A Santa
lived as a
devil at


To check if the cleaned string is a palindrome, you can compare the string with its reverse. If they are the same, then the string is a palindrome.

Code Example of Using Strings in C++

#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;

int main() {
    // Declare a string variable
    string greeting = "Hello, ";

    // Concatenate strings
    string name = "Coder";
    string message = greeting + name;

    // Display the concatenated string
    cout << message << endl;

    // Get the length of the string
    int length = message.length();
    cout << "Length of the message: " << length << " characters" << endl;

    // Access individual characters
    char firstChar = message[0];
    char lastChar = message[length - 1];
    cout << "First character: " << firstChar << endl;
    cout << "Last character: " << lastChar << endl;

    // Find a substring
    string findStr = "Hello";
    size_t found = message.find(findStr);
    if (found != string::npos) {
        cout << "Substring '" << findStr << "' found at index " << found << endl;
    } else {
        cout << "Substring not found" << endl;

    return 0;


Hello, Coder
Length of the message: 13 characters
First character: H
Last character: e
Substring 'Hello' found at index 0


  • String Declaration: We include the ‘<string>‘ header and declare a string variable called ‘greeting‘.
  • String Concatenation: Strings are concatenated using the + operator to create a new string, such as combining “Hello” and “Coder”.
  • String Length: The ‘length()‘ function gives us the number of characters in the string, and we display it.
  • Accessing Characters: Individual characters in the string are accessed using indexing, like getting the first and last characters.
  • Substring Search: We search for a specific substring (“Hello”) within the main string using the ‘find()‘ function and its index are shown if found.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Strings in C++

Flexible: Can store text dataMore memory usage
Versatile: Can manipulate and concatenate stringsSlower performance for certain operations
Easy to use and understandDifficulty comparing strings for equality
Widely supported and used in programmingLimited support for certain operations on non-ASCII characters
Simplifies input/output operations involving textPotential security risks with improper handling
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Strings in C++

Key Takeaways

  • Text Handling: Strings in C++ are fantastic for dealing with text-based data, such as words and sentences, which are crucial in many programs.
  • Exciting Adventures: They add a touch of excitement to your coding journey by enabling you to create dynamic and interactive content.
  • Limitations Present: Keep in mind that strings have their limitations, which might not suit all scenarios or tasks perfectly.
  • Not Always the Best: While they’re great for text, there are situations where other data types or structures might be more suitable for certain tasks.
  • Coding Power-Up: Strings are like a secret power-up in your programming arsenal, but it’s essential to recognize when to unleash them and when to opt for other tools.


Becoming a string expert in C++ is like leveling up in a game. Strings are important in C++, and learning how to handle them is like gaining superpowers for tackling different tasks. Keep practicing, and soon you’ll become a pro at using strings to solve all sorts of challenges. Just like a skilled gamer, you’ll be able to handle strings with ease and confidence. So, don’t give up, keep learning, and soon you’ll be a strings master!


What is a string in C++?

A string in C++ is like a text message for your code. It’s a variable that can store text.

Why do we need strings in C++?

Strings allow our code to understand and use text, which is a big part of many programs.

Can strings in C++ store numbers?

Yes, strings can store numbers, but the numbers will be treated as text, not as actual numbers.

What are some things I can do with strings in C++?

You can do lots of cool things with strings, like joining them together, finding out how long they are, changing their characters, and more.

What are some limitations of strings in C++?

Strings are slower and take up more memory than other data types. Some string operations can also be tricky.

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