String Theory


Found a great source of information about using the String class in Arduino, in this article, The Evils of Arduino Strings, from Majenko‘s site.


This is also useful for clearing up any confusion: Difference between const char *p, char * const p and const char * const p.

For converting tips, see answers to Problems on convert byte[] to String.


String class

  • Try to avoid using the String class and using native C strings instead
  • Pass String class references to functions and not a copy (i.e. use &)

C strings

  • Use const char *stringname for any C string that will not be manipulated, in declarations and as function parameters
  • USe char stringname[] for strings that can be manipulated, as this places them in RAM

Declaring C strings

  1. char string[30]; – RAM based string, able to be manipulated
  2. char string[30] = "This is text";
  3. char string[30] = {'T','h','i','s',' ','i','s',' ','t','e','x','t','\0'};
  4. char string[]; –
  5. char string[] = "This is text"; – RAM based string, able to be manipulated, string created of the correct length
  6. char string[] = {'T','h','i','s',' ','i','s',' ','t','e','x','t','\0'};
  7. char *string; – pointer to a string
  8. const char *string = "This is text"; – for a string that can and must/should not be manipulated

To print a C string

From Passing a C string and using it:

void PrintString(const char *str) {
    const char *p = str;
    while (*p)

or shorter still, use any of these one liners:

  • for(i=0; str[i] && Serial.print(str[i]); ++i)
  • for(i=0; str[i]; Serial.print(str[i++]));
  • while (*str) Serial.print(*str++);

Or, for readability:

void PrintString (const char *str) 
    for(const char* p=str; *p != '\0'; p++)

To print a String

Four ways to print a String (from Serial.print a string object)

void setup() {
  String str = "A String";

  // First

  // Second
  for(int i=0; i<str.length(); i++) {

  // Third

  // Fourth
  for(const char* p=str.c_str(); *p; ) {
void loop() {}

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