C Language Strings Find first/last occurrence of a specific character: strchr(), strrchr()


Example

The strchr and strrchr functions find a character in a string, that is in a NUL-terminated character array. strchr return a pointer to the first occurrence and strrchr to the last one.

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

int main(void)
{
    char toSearchFor = 'A';

    /* Exit if no second argument is found. */
    if (argc != 2)
    {
        printf("Argument missing.\n");
        return EXIT_FAILURE;
    }

    {
        char *firstOcc = strchr(argv[1], toSearchFor);
        if (firstOcc != NULL) 
        {
            printf("First position of %c in %s is %td.\n", 
              toSearchFor, argv[1], firstOcc-argv[1]); /* A pointer difference's result 
                                     is a signed integer and uses the length modifier 't'. */
        }
        else
        {
            printf("%c is not in %s.\n", toSearchFor, argv[1]);
        }
    }

    {
        char *lastOcc = strrchr(argv[1], toSearchFor);
        if (lastOcc != NULL)
        {
            printf("Last position of %c in %s is %td.\n",
              toSearchFor, argv[1], lastOcc-argv[1]);
        }
    }

    return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

Outputs (after having generate an executable named pos):

$ ./pos AAAAAAA
First position of A in AAAAAAA is 0.
Last position of A in AAAAAAA is 6.
$ ./pos BAbbbbbAccccAAAAzzz
First position of A in BAbbbbbAccccAAAAzzz is 1.
Last position of A in BAbbbbbAccccAAAAzzz is 15.
$  ./pos qwerty             
A is not in qwerty.

One common use for strrchr is to extract a file name from a path. For example to extract myfile.txt from C:\Users\eak\myfile.txt:

char *getFileName(const char *path)
{
    char *pend;

    if ((pend = strrchr(path, '\')) != NULL)
        return pend + 1;

    return NULL;
}