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std::string::data() in C++

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  • Last Updated : 06 Jul, 2017
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The data() function writes the characters of the string into an array. It returns a pointer to the array, obtained from conversion of string to the array. Its Return type is not a valid C-string as no ‘\0’ character gets appended at the end of array.

const char* data() const;
char* is the pointer to the obtained array.
Parameters : None
  • std::string::data() returns an array that is owned by the string. Thus, the caller must not modify or free the memory.
    Let’s take same example where ptr points to final array.

    ptr[2] = 'a';
    this will raise an error as ptr points to an array that
    is owned by the string, in other words ptr is now pointing
    to constant array and assigning it a new value is now not allowed.
  • Return value of data() is valid only until the next call of a non-constant member function for the same string.
    Explanation :
    Suppose, str be the original string which is required to be converted in an array

    // converts str in an array pointed by pointer ptr.
    const char* ptr =; 
    // Bad access of str after modification
    // of original string to an array
    str += "hello"; // invalidates ptr
    // Now displaying str with reference of ptr
    // will give garbage value
    cout << ptr; // Will give garbage value

// CPP code to illustrate
// std::string::data()
#include <iostream>
#include <string>
#include <cstring>
using namespace std;
// Function to demonstrate data() 
void dataDemo(string str1)
    // Converts str1 to str2 without appending
    // '/0' at the end
    const char* str2;
    str2 =;
    cout << "Content of transformed string : ";
    cout << str2 << endl;
    cout << "After data(), length: ";
    cout << strlen(str2);
// Driver code
int main()
    string str("GeeksforGeeks");
    cout << "Content of Original String : ";
    cout << str << endl;
    cout << "Length of original String : ";
    cout << str.size() << endl;
    return 0;


Content of Original String : GeeksforGeeks
Length of original String : 13
Content of transformed string : GeeksforGeeks
After data(), length: 13

Here, we can easily notice, both contents and length of original string and transformed array are same.
This article is contributed by Sakshi Tiwari. If you like GeeksforGeeks (We know you do!) and would like to contribute, you can also write an article using or mail your article to See your article appearing on the GeeksforGeeks main page and help other Geeks.

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