How to find reverse of the given string in C?

How to find reverse of the given string in C?

In the world of programming, particularly in C, string manipulation stands as a fundamental skill that every coder needs to master. Among various string operations, reversing a string is a classic problem that serves multiple purposes, from being a popular interview question to having practical applications in algorithms like palindrome checking. Understanding how to efficiently reverse a string in C not only sharpens your problem-solving skills but also deepens your grasp of the language’s nuances.

Basics of Strings in C

In C, a string is essentially an array of characters terminated by a null character (\0). This null character signifies the end of the string, enabling functions to determine the string’s length. Unlike higher-level languages that abstract away the intricacies of strings, C requires developers to manage the memory directly. A string in C is stored in contiguous memory locations, allowing for efficient access and manipulation of individual characters.

Methods to Reverse a String

Reversing a string in C can be accomplished through several methods, each with its own nuances and complexity considerations. The most common approaches include using a temporary array, in-place swapping using two pointers, and the recursive method. Each technique offers a different perspective on handling string manipulation, providing valuable insights into C’s flexibility and efficiency.

Using a Loop

One of the most intuitive methods to reverse a string is to use a loop to swap characters from the beginning and the end of the string progressively, moving towards the center. This approach is both straightforward and efficient, requiring no additional memory for a temporary string.


  1. Initialize two pointers, left pointing to the start of the string and right pointing to the end of the string (excluding the null terminator).
  2. Swap the characters at the left and right positions.
  3. Increment the left pointer and decrement the right pointer.
  4. Continue swapping and moving the pointers until left is greater than or equal to right.

Code Implementation:

1#include <stdio.h>
2#include <string.h>
4void reverseString(char* str) {
5 int left = 0;
6 int right = strlen(str) - 1;
8 while (left < right) {
9 // Swap characters
10 char temp = str[left];
11 str[left] = str[right];
12 str[right] = temp;
14 // Move pointers towards center
15 left++;
16 right--;
17 }
20int main() {
21 char str[] = "codedamn";
22 reverseString(str);
23 printf("Reversed string: %s\n", str);
24 return 0;

Complexity Analysis:

The time complexity of this method is O(n/2), which simplifies to O(n), where n is the length of the string. This is because each character swap operation is constant time, and the loop runs for half the length of the string. The space complexity is O(1), as the reversal is done in place without using any additional memory proportional to the input size.

Using the strrev() Function

The strrev() function is a non-standard function that reverses a string in-place. While convenient, it’s important to note that strrev() is not available in the standard C library. This means its availability is limited to specific compilers or platforms, such as certain versions of Microsoft’s Visual C++. If you’re working on a project that aims to be portable across different environments, relying on strrev() may not be the best approach. As an alternative, consider implementing your own reverse function or exploring other portable methods.

Using Recursion

Reversing a string using recursion involves breaking down the problem into smaller, manageable parts. The base case for the recursion would typically be when the function encounters an empty string or a string of length 1. In these cases, the string is its own reverse. The recursive step involves moving the first character of the string to the end and then calling the function recursively on the remainder of the string minus the first character.

While elegant, recursive methods have their drawbacks. They can be less intuitive to understand at first and may lead to stack overflow errors for very long strings, due to the deep call stack. However, for shorter strings, recursion offers a clean and concise way to reverse a string.


When manipulating strings in C, it’s crucial to avoid common pitfalls. Always be mindful of buffer sizes and ensure that any function that modifies a string in-place does not exceed the allocated buffer size. This helps prevent buffer overflow vulnerabilities. Moreover, thorough testing is essential, especially with edge cases such as empty strings or strings with only one character, to ensure your string manipulation functions work as expected.

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