STRPTIME(3) BSD Library Functions Manual STRPTIME(3)NAMEstrptime — parse date and time string
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
strptime(const char * restrict buf, const char * restrict format,
struct tm * restrict timeptr);
The strptime() function parses the string in the buffer buf according to
the string pointed to by format, and fills in the elements of the struc‐
ture pointed to by timeptr. The resulting values will be relative to the
local time zone. Thus, it can be considered the reverse operation of
The format string consists of zero or more conversion specifications and
ordinary characters. All ordinary characters are matched exactly with
the buffer, where white space in the format string will match any amount
of white space in the buffer. All conversion specifications are identi‐
cal to those described in strftime(3).
Two-digit year values, including formats %y and %D, are now interpreted
as beginning at 1969 per POSIX requirements. Years 69-00 are interpreted
in the 20th century (1969-2000), years 01-68 in the 21st century
If the format string does not contain enough conversion specifications to
completely specify the resulting struct tm, the unspecified members of
timeptr are left untouched. For example, if format is “%H:%M:%S”, only
tm_hour, tm_sec and tm_min will be modified. If time relative to today
is desired, initialize the timeptr structure with today's date before
passing it to strptime().
Upon successful completion, strptime() returns the pointer to the first
character in buf that has not been required to satisfy the specified con‐
versions in format. It returns NULL if one of the conversions failed.
SEE ALSOdate(1), scanf(3), strftime(3)HISTORY
The strptime() function appeared in FreeBSD 3.0.
The strptime() function has been contributed by Powerdog Industries.
This man page was written by Jörg Wunsch.
Both the %e and %l format specifiers may incorrectly scan one too many
digits if the intended values comprise only a single digit and that digit
is followed immediately by another digit. Both specifiers accept zero-
padded values, even though they are both defined as taking unpadded val‐
The %p format specifier has no effect unless it is parsed after hour-
related specifiers. Specifying %l without %p will produce undefined
results. Note that 12AM (ante meridiem) is taken as midnight and 12PM
(post meridiem) is taken as noon.
The %U and %W format specifiers accept any value within the range 00 to
53 without validating against other values supplied (like month or day of
the year, for example).
The %Z format specifier only accepts time zone abbreviations of the local
time zone, or the value "GMT". This limitation is because of ambiguity
due to of the over loading of time zone abbreviations. One such example
is EST which is both Eastern Standard Time and Eastern Australia Summer
The strptime() function does not correctly handle multibyte characters in
the format argument.
BSD January 4, 2003 BSD