C++ convert hex string to signed integer


I want to convert a hex string to a 32 bit signed integer in C++.

So, for example, I have the hex string "fffefffe". The binary representation of this is 11111111111111101111111111111110. The signed integer representation of this is: -65538.

How do I do this conversion in C++? This also needs to work for non-negative numbers. For example, the hex string "0000000A", which is 00000000000000000000000000001010 in binary, and 10 in decimal.

7/1/2009 5:55:22 PM

Accepted Answer

use std::stringstream

unsigned int x;   
std::stringstream ss;
ss << std::hex << "fffefffe";
ss >> x;

the following example produces -65538 as its result:

#include <sstream>
#include <iostream>

int main() {
    unsigned int x;   
    std::stringstream ss;
    ss << std::hex << "fffefffe";
    ss >> x;
    // output it as a signed type
    std::cout << static_cast<int>(x) << std::endl;

In the new C++11 standard, there are a few new utility functions which you can make use of! specifically, there is a family of "string to number" functions (http://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/string/basic_string/stol and http://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/string/basic_string/stoul). These are essentially thin wrappers around C's string to number conversion functions, but know how to deal with a std::string

So, the simplest answer for newer code would probably look like this:

std::string s = "0xfffefffe";
unsigned int x = std::stoul(s, nullptr, 16);

NOTE: Below is my original answer, which as the edit says is not a complete answer. For a functional solution, stick the code above the line :-).

It appears that since lexical_cast<> is defined to have stream conversion semantics. Sadly, streams don't understand the "0x" notation. So both the boost::lexical_cast and my hand rolled one don't deal well with hex strings. The above solution which manually sets the input stream to hex will handle it just fine.

Boost has some stuff to do this as well, which has some nice error checking capabilities as well. You can use it like this:

try {
    unsigned int x = lexical_cast<int>("0x0badc0de");
} catch(bad_lexical_cast &) {
    // whatever you want to do...

If you don't feel like using boost, here's a light version of lexical cast which does no error checking:

template<typename T2, typename T1>
inline T2 lexical_cast(const T1 &in) {
    T2 out;
    std::stringstream ss;
    ss << in;
    ss >> out;
    return out;

which you can use like this:

// though this needs the 0x prefix so it knows it is hex
unsigned int x = lexical_cast<unsigned int>("0xdeadbeef"); 
1/7/2019 4:16:27 PM

For a method that works with both C and C++, you might want to consider using the standard library function strtol().

#include <cstdlib>
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

int main() {
    string s = "abcd";
    char * p;
    long n = strtol( s.c_str(), & p, 16 );
    if ( * p != 0 ) { //my bad edit was here
        cout << "not a number" << endl;
    else {
        cout << n << endl;

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