Basics of String Manipulation

Basics of String Manipulation

A string is a sequence of characters. In other words, a string is an array of character data type. An instance of a string is called a string literal. For instance in C++: string s = "HackerEarth"; $$s$$ is a string literal.

String Manipulation is a class of problems where a user is asked to process a given string and use/change its data. An example question would be a great way to understand the problems that are usually classified under this category.

  • Given a string $$S$$ of length $$N$$, shift each character of the string by $$K$$ positions to the right, where $$ K \le N$$.

For example: Say $$S$$ = "hacker" and $$K = 2$$. Here $$N = 6$$.
Shifting each character in $$S$$ by $$2$$ positions to the right would result into $$erhack$$.
Note that $$S[0]$$ i.e. 'h' is moved by 2 positions to the $$S[2]$$. Also, $$S[5]$$ i.e. 'r', which is the last character in $$S$$ comes round-about back to $$S[1]$$ as there is no space for 'r' to go beyond the limits of string length.


  • Declare another auxillary string $$shiftedS$$ that is of the same size as $$S$$.
  • Copy $$i^{th}$$ element of $$S$$ to the $$(K+i)^{th}$$ position in $$shiftedS$$. This means, $$shiftedS[i+K] = S[i]$$ where $$0 \le i \lt N$$.
  • Make sure that $$i+K$$ never exceeds $$N$$, because that will try to access a memory location which is not declared in $$shiftedS$$. There's a simple trick to ensure that - use $$(i+K) mod\; N$$ .


void shiftByK(char S[], char shiftedS[], int N, int K) {
    // Iterate through the length of given string
    for(int i=0; i<N; i++) {
        // Find the index for this current character in shiftedS[]
        int idx = (i+K) % N;
        // Copy that character at the found index idx
        shiftedS[idx] = S[i];
    // Add a NULL character to mark the end of string
    shiftedS[N] = '\0';

Every character array in C/C++ ends with a '\0' (NULL) character. It marks the end of the string. If it is not added in the end, then the code may produce garbage characters after the string.

Contributed by: Ravi Ojha
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