What Is String Copy in Data Structure?


Scott Campbell

What Is String Copy in Data Structure?

A string is a sequence of characters. In data structure, copying a string refers to creating an exact replica of the original string. This process is essential for various operations like manipulating, sorting, or storing strings.

Why Do We Need String Copy?

String copy is necessary when we want to perform operations on a string without affecting the original one. By creating a copy, we can make changes or modifications to the copied string while preserving the integrity of the original string.

Let’s understand this with an example:

Suppose we have an original string: “Hello, World!”. If we directly modify this string, any operation that relies on the original value will be affected. However, by creating a copy of the string before making changes, we can work with both versions independently.

How Does String Copy Work?

In data structures, there are various ways to perform a string copy:

1. Manual Copy

This method involves iterating over each character in the source string and copying it to the destination string until all characters are copied.

// Example code for manual copy
char source[] = "Hello";
char destination[6];
int i;
for(i = 0; source[i] != '\0'; ++i)
    destination[i] = source[i];
destination[i] = '\0';

2. Library Functions

Data structure libraries often provide built-in functions for copying strings. Examples of such functions include strcpy(), strncpy(), and memcpy().

// Example code for using strcpy()
#include <string.h>
char source[] = "Hello";
char destination[6];
strcpy(destination, source);

3. Dynamic Allocation

In some cases, when dealing with dynamically allocated memory, we can use functions like malloc() and memcpy() to allocate memory for the copied string.

// Example code for dynamic allocation
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>
char* copyString(char* source)
    size_t length = strlen(source);
    char* destination = (char*)malloc(length + 1);
    memcpy(destination, source, length + 1);
    return destination;


In data structure, string copying plays a crucial role in various operations. Whether it’s manipulating or storing strings, creating a copy allows us to work with the data without impacting the original value. By understanding different methods and techniques, we can effectively utilize string copy to enhance our programs.

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