Manual Reference Pages  - FSEEK (P)


This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer’s Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.


Return Value
Application Usage
Future Directions
See Also


fseek, fseeko - reposition a file-position indicator in a stream


#include <stdio.h>

int fseek(FILE *stream, long offset, int whence);

int fseeko(FILE *stream, off_t offset, int whence);


The fseek() function shall set the file-position indicator for the stream pointed to by stream. If a read or write error occurs, the error indicator for the stream shall be set and fseek() fails.

The new position, measured in bytes from the beginning of the file, shall be obtained by adding offset to the position specified by whence. The specified point is the beginning of the file for SEEK_SET, the current value of the file-position indicator for SEEK_CUR, or end-of-file for SEEK_END.

If the stream is to be used with wide-character input/output functions, the application shall ensure that offset is either 0 or a value returned by an earlier call to ftell() on the same stream and whence is SEEK_SET.

A successful call to fseek() shall clear the end-of-file indicator for the stream and undo any effects of ungetc() and ungetwc() on the same stream. After an fseek() call, the next operation on an update stream may be either input or output.

If the most recent operation, other than ftell(), on a given stream is fflush(), the file offset in the underlying open file description shall be adjusted to reflect the location specified by fseek().

The fseek() function shall allow the file-position indicator to be set beyond the end of existing data in the file. If data is later written at this point, subsequent reads of data in the gap shall return bytes with the value 0 until data is actually written into the gap.

The behavior of fseek() on devices which are incapable of seeking is implementation-defined. The value of the file offset associated with such a device is undefined.

If the stream is writable and buffered data had not been written to the underlying file, fseek() shall cause the unwritten data to be written to the file and shall mark the st_ctime and st_mtime fields of the file for update.

In a locale with state-dependent encoding, whether fseek() restores the stream’s shift state is implementation-defined.

The fseeko() function shall be equivalent to the fseek() function except that the offset argument is of type off_t.


The fseek() and fseeko() functions shall return 0 if they succeed.

Otherwise, they shall return -1 and set errno to indicate the error.


The fseek() and fseeko() functions shall fail if, either the stream is unbuffered or the stream’s buffer needed to be flushed, and the call to fseek() or fseeko() causes an underlying lseek() or write() to be invoked, and:
EAGAIN The O_NONBLOCK flag is set for the file descriptor and the process would be delayed in the write operation.
EBADF The file descriptor underlying the stream file is not open for writing or the stream’s buffer needed to be flushed and the file is not open.
EFBIG An attempt was made to write a file that exceeds the maximum file size.
EFBIG An attempt was made to write a file that exceeds the process’ file size limit.
EFBIG The file is a regular file and an attempt was made to write at or beyond the offset maximum associated with the corresponding stream.
EINTR The write operation was terminated due to the receipt of a signal, and no data was transferred.
EINVAL The whence argument is invalid. The resulting file-position indicator would be set to a negative value.
EIO A physical I/O error has occurred, or the process is a member of a background process group attempting to perform a write() to its controlling terminal, TOSTOP is set, the process is neither ignoring nor blocking SIGTTOU, and the process group of the process is orphaned. This error may also be returned under implementation-defined conditions.
ENOSPC There was no free space remaining on the device containing the file.
ENXIO A request was made of a nonexistent device, or the request was outside the capabilities of the device.
  For fseek(), the resulting file offset would be a value which cannot be represented correctly in an object of type long.
  For fseeko(), the resulting file offset would be a value which cannot be represented correctly in an object of type off_t.
EPIPE An attempt was made to write to a pipe or FIFO that is not open for reading by any process; a SIGPIPE signal shall also be sent to the thread.
ESPIPE The file descriptor underlying stream is associated with a pipe or FIFO.

The following sections are informative.










fopen() , fsetpos() , ftell() , getrlimit() , lseek() , rewind() , ulimit() , ungetc() , write() , the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, <stdio.h>


Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online at .

IEEE/The Open Group FSEEK (P) 2003
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