offsetof (3) - Linux Manuals

offsetof: offset of a structure member


offsetof - offset of a structure member


#include <stddef.h>

size_t offsetof(type, member);


The macro offsetof() returns the offset of the field member from the start of the structure type.

This macro is useful because the sizes of the fields that compose a structure can vary across implementations, and compilers may insert different numbers of padding bytes between fields. Consequently, an element's offset is not necessarily given by the sum of the sizes of the previous elements.

A compiler error will result if member is not aligned to a byte boundary (i.e., it is a bit field).


offsetof() returns the offset of the given member within the given type, in units of bytes.


POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008, C89, C99.


On a Linux/i386 system, when compiled using the default gcc(1) options, the program below produces the following output:

$ ./a.out offsets: i=0; c=4; d=8 a=16 sizeof(struct s)=16

Program source

#include <stddef.h> #include <stdio.h> #include <stdlib.h>

int main(void) {
    struct s {
        int i;
        char c;
        double d;
        char a[];

    /* Output is compiler dependent */

    printf("offsets: i=%zu; c=%zu; d=%zu a=%zu\n",
            offsetof(struct s, i), offsetof(struct s, c),
            offsetof(struct s, d), offsetof(struct s, a));
    printf("sizeof(struct s)=%zu\n", sizeof(struct s));

    exit(EXIT_SUCCESS); }


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