Q: When I read numbers from the keyboard with scanf and a "%d\n" format, like this:
int n; scanf("%d\n", &n); printf("you typed %d\n", n);it seems to hang until I type one extra line of input.
A: Perhaps surprisingly, \n in a scanf format string does not mean to expect a newline, but rather to read and discard characters as long as each is a whitespace character. (In fact, any whitespace character in a scanf format string means to read and discard whitespace characters. [footnote] Furthermore, formats like %d also discard leading whitespace, so you usually don't need explicit whitespace in scanf format strings at all.)
The \n in "%d\n" therefore causes scanf to read characters until it finds a non-whitespace character, and it may need to read another line before it can find that non-whitespace character. In this case, the fix is just to use "%d", without the \n (athough your program may then need to skip over the unread newline; see question 12.18a).
scanf was designed for free-format input, which is seldom what you want when reading from the keyboard. By ``free format'' we mean that scanf does not treat newlines differently from other whitespace. The format "%d %d %d" would be equally happy reading the input
1 2 3or
1 2 3
(By way of comparison, source code in languages like C, Pascal, and LISP is free-format, while traditional BASIC and FORTRAN are not.)
If you're insistent, scanf can be told to match a newline, using the ``scanset'' directive:
scanf("%d%*[\n]", &n);Scansets, though powerful, won't solve all scanf problems, however. See also question 12.20.
K&R2 Sec. B1.3 pp. 245-6
ISO Sec. 220.127.116.11
H&S Sec. 15.8 pp. 357-64