qsort(3) — Linux manual page


qsort(3)                Library Functions Manual                qsort(3)

NAME         top

       qsort, qsort_r - sort an array

LIBRARY         top

       Standard C library (libc, -lc)

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <stdlib.h>

       void qsort(void base[.size * .nmemb], size_t nmemb, size_t size,
                  int (*compar)(const void [.size], const void [.size]));
       void qsort_r(void base[.size * .nmemb], size_t nmemb, size_t size,
                  int (*compar)(const void [.size], const void [.size], void *),
                  void *arg);

   Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see


DESCRIPTION         top

       The qsort() function sorts an array with nmemb elements of size
       size.  The base argument points to the start of the array.

       The contents of the array are sorted in ascending order according
       to a comparison function pointed to by compar, which is called
       with two arguments that point to the objects being compared.

       The comparison function must return an integer less than, equal
       to, or greater than zero if the first argument is considered to
       be respectively less than, equal to, or greater than the second.
       If two members compare as equal, their order in the sorted array
       is undefined.

       The qsort_r() function is identical to qsort() except that the
       comparison function compar takes a third argument.  A pointer is
       passed to the comparison function via arg.  In this way, the
       comparison function does not need to use global variables to pass
       through arbitrary arguments, and is therefore reentrant and safe
       to use in threads.

RETURN VALUE         top

       The qsort() and qsort_r() functions return no value.

ATTRIBUTES         top

       For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see
       │ Interface                           Attribute     Value   │
       │ qsort(), qsort_r()                  │ Thread safety │ MT-Safe │

STANDARDS         top

              C11, POSIX.1-2008.

HISTORY         top

              POSIX.1-2001, C89, SVr4, 4.3BSD.

              glibc 2.8.

NOTES         top

       To compare C strings, the comparison function can call strcmp(3),
       as shown in the example below.

EXAMPLES         top

       For one example of use, see the example under bsearch(3).

       Another example is the following program, which sorts the strings
       given in its command-line arguments:

       #include <stdio.h>
       #include <stdlib.h>
       #include <string.h>

       static int
       cmpstringp(const void *p1, const void *p2)
           /* The actual arguments to this function are "pointers to
              pointers to char", but strcmp(3) arguments are "pointers
              to char", hence the following cast plus dereference. */

           return strcmp(*(const char **) p1, *(const char **) p2);

       main(int argc, char *argv[])
           if (argc < 2) {
               fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s <string>...\n", argv[0]);

           qsort(&argv[1], argc - 1, sizeof(char *), cmpstringp);

           for (size_t j = 1; j < argc; j++)

SEE ALSO         top

       sort(1), alphasort(3), strcmp(3), versionsort(3)

COLOPHON         top

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Linux man-pages 6.9.1          2024-06-15                       qsort(3)

Pages that refer to this page: bsearch(3)fts(3)scandir(3)tsearch(3)