Produces output according to format. See sprintf() for a description of format. Test printf online.

int printf ( string $format [, mixed $args [, mixed $... ]] )

Every line as separate argument.

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(PHP 4, PHP 5, PHP 7)

printfOutput a formatted string


printf ( string $format [, mixed $... ] ) : int

Produces output according to format.



The format string is composed of zero or more directives: ordinary characters (excluding %) that are copied directly to the result and conversion specifications, each of which results in fetching its own parameter.

A conversion specification follows this prototype: %[argnum$][flags][width][.precision]specifier.


An integer followed by a dollar sign $, to specify which number argument to treat in the conversion.

Flag Description
- Left-justify within the given field width; Right justification is the default
+ Prefix positive numbers with a plus sign +; Default only negative are prefixed with a negative sign.
(space) Pads the result with spaces. This is the default.
0 Only left-pads numbers with zeros. With s specifiers this can also right-pad with zeros.
'(char) Pads the result with the character (char).


An integer that says how many characters (minimum) this conversion should result in.


A period . followed by an integer who's meaning depends on the specifier:

  • For e, E, f and F specifiers: this is the number of digits to be printed after the decimal point (by default, this is 6).
  • For g and G specifiers: this is the maximum number of significant digits to be printed.
  • For s specifier: it acts as a cutoff point, setting a maximum character limit to the string.

Note: If the period is specified without an explicit value for precision, 0 is assumed.

Note: Attempting to use a position specifier greater than PHP_INT_MAX will generate warnings.

Specifier Description
% A literal percent character. No argument is required.
b The argument is treated as an integer and presented as a binary number.
c The argument is treated as an integer and presented as the character with that ASCII.
d The argument is treated as an integer and presented as a (signed) decimal number.
e The argument is treated as scientific notation (e.g. 1.2e+2). The precision specifier stands for the number of digits after the decimal point since PHP 5.2.1. In earlier versions, it was taken as number of significant digits (one less).
E Like the e specifier but uses uppercase letter (e.g. 1.2E+2).
f The argument is treated as a float and presented as a floating-point number (locale aware).
F The argument is treated as a float and presented as a floating-point number (non-locale aware). Available as of PHP 5.0.3.

General format.

Let P equal the precision if nonzero, 6 if the precision is omitted, or 1 if the precision is zero. Then, if a conversion with style E would have an exponent of X:

If P > X ≥ −4, the conversion is with style f and precision P − (X + 1). Otherwise, the conversion is with style e and precision P − 1.

G Like the g specifier but uses E and f.
o The argument is treated as an integer and presented as an octal number.
s The argument is treated and presented as a string.
u The argument is treated as an integer and presented as an unsigned decimal number.
x The argument is treated as an integer and presented as a hexadecimal number (with lowercase letters).
X The argument is treated as an integer and presented as a hexadecimal number (with uppercase letters).

The c type specifier ignores padding and width


Attempting to use a combination of the string and width specifiers with character sets that require more than one byte per character may result in unexpected results

Variables will be co-erced to a suitable type for the specifier:

Type Handling
Type Specifiers
string s
integer d, u, c, o, x, X, b
double g, G, e, E, f, F

Return Values

Returns the length of the outputted string.


Example #1 printf(): various examples

=  43951789;
$u = -43951789;
$c 65// ASCII 65 is 'A'

// notice the double %%, this prints a literal '%' character
printf("%%b = '%b'\n"$n); // binary representation
printf("%%c = '%c'\n"$c); // print the ascii character, same as chr() function
printf("%%d = '%d'\n"$n); // standard integer representation
printf("%%e = '%e'\n"$n); // scientific notation
printf("%%u = '%u'\n"$n); // unsigned integer representation of a positive integer
printf("%%u = '%u'\n"$u); // unsigned integer representation of a negative integer
printf("%%f = '%f'\n"$n); // floating point representation
printf("%%o = '%o'\n"$n); // octal representation
printf("%%s = '%s'\n"$n); // string representation
printf("%%x = '%x'\n"$n); // hexadecimal representation (lower-case)
printf("%%X = '%X'\n"$n); // hexadecimal representation (upper-case)

printf("%%+d = '%+d'\n"$n); // sign specifier on a positive integer
printf("%%+d = '%+d'\n"$u); // sign specifier on a negative integer

The above example will output:

%b = '10100111101010011010101101'
%c = 'A'
%d = '43951789'
%e = '4.39518e+7'
%u = '43951789'
%u = '4251015507'
%f = '43951789.000000'
%o = '247523255'
%s = '43951789'
%x = '29ea6ad'
%X = '29EA6AD'
%+d = '+43951789'
%+d = '-43951789'

Example #2 printf(): string specifiers

$t 'many monkeys';

printf("[%s]\n",      $s); // standard string output
printf("[%10s]\n",    $s); // right-justification with spaces
printf("[%-10s]\n",   $s); // left-justification with spaces
printf("[%010s]\n",   $s); // zero-padding works on strings too
printf("[%'#10s]\n",  $s); // use the custom padding character '#'
printf("[%10.9s]\n"$t); // right-justification but with a cutoff of 8 characters
printf("[%-10.9s]\n"$t); // left-justification but with a cutoff of 8 characters

The above example will output:

[    monkey]
[monkey    ]
[ many monk]
[many monk ]

See Also

  • print - Output a string
  • sprintf() - Return a formatted string
  • fprintf() - Write a formatted string to a stream
  • vprintf() - Output a formatted string
  • vsprintf() - Return a formatted string
  • vfprintf() - Write a formatted string to a stream
  • sscanf() - Parses input from a string according to a format
  • fscanf() - Parses input from a file according to a format
  • number_format() - Format a number with grouped thousands
  • date() - Format a local time/date
  • flush() - Flush system output buffer

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