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std::bit_cast(3) C++ Standard Libary std::bit_cast(3)


std::bit_cast - std::bit_cast


Defined in header <bit>
template< class To, class From > (since C++20)
constexpr To bit_cast( const From& from ) noexcept;

Obtain a value of type To by reinterpreting the object representation of From. Every
bit in the value representation of the returned To object is equal to the
corresponding bit in the object representation of from. The values of padding bits
in the returned To object are unspecified.

If there is no value of type To corresponding to the value representation produced,
the behavior is undefined. If there are multiple such values, which value is
produced is unspecified.

A bit in the value representation of the result is indeterminate if it

* does not correspond to a bit in the value representation of From (i.e. it
corresponds to a padding bit), or
* corresponds to a bit
of an object that
(until C++26)
for which the smallest enclosing object
(since C++26) is not within its lifetime, or
* has an indeterminate value.

A bit in the value representation of the result is erroneous if it
corresponds to a bit for which the smallest enclosing object has an (since C++26)
erroneous value.

The result does not otherwise contain any indeterminate or erroneous values.

For each bit in the value representation of the result that is
indeterminate, the smallest object containing that bit has an
indeterminate value; the behavior is undefined unless that object is (until C++26)
of an uninitialized-friendly type.

The result does not otherwise contain any indeterminate values.
For each bit b in the value representation of the result that is
indeterminate or erroneous, let u be the smallest object enclosing b:

* If u is of uninitialized-friendly type, u has an indeterminate
value if any of the bits in its value representation are (since C++26)
indeterminate, or otherwise has an erroneous value.
* Otherwise, if b is indeterminate, the behavior is undefined.
* Otherwise, the behavior is erroneous, and the result is as
specified above.

This overload participates in overload resolution only if sizeof(To) == sizeof(From)
and both To and From are TriviallyCopyable types.

This function template is constexpr if and only if each of To, From and the types of
all subobjects of To and From:

* is not a union type;
* is not a pointer type;
* is not a pointer to member type;
* is not a volatile-qualified type; and
* has no non-static data member of reference type.


from - the source of bits for the return value

Return value

An object of type To whose value representation is as described above.

Possible implementation

To implement std::bit_cast, ignoring the fact that it's constexpr, std::memcpy can
be used, when it is needed, to interpret the object representation as one of another

template<class To, class From>
sizeof(To) == sizeof(From) &&
std::is_trivially_copyable_v<From> &&
// constexpr support needs compiler magic
bit_cast(const From& src) noexcept
"This implementation additionally requires "
"destination type to be trivially constructible");

To dst;
std::memcpy(&dst, &src, sizeof(To));
return dst;


reinterpret_cast (or equivalent explicit cast) between pointer or reference types
shall not be used to reinterpret object representation in most cases because of the
type aliasing rule.

Feature-test macro Value Std Feature
__cpp_lib_bit_cast 201806L (C++20) std::bit_cast


// Run this code

#include <bit>
#include <cstdint>
#include <iostream>

constexpr double f64v = 19880124.0;
constexpr auto u64v = std::bit_cast<std::uint64_t>(f64v);
static_assert(std::bit_cast<double>(u64v) == f64v); // round-trip

constexpr std::uint64_t u64v2 = 0x3fe9000000000000ull;
constexpr auto f64v2 = std::bit_cast<double>(u64v2);
static_assert(std::bit_cast<std::uint64_t>(f64v2) == u64v2); // round-trip

int main()
<< "std::bit_cast<std::uint64_t>(" << std::fixed << f64v << ") == 0x"
<< std::hex << u64v << '\n'
<< "std::bit_cast<double>(0x" << std::hex << u64v2 << ") == "
<< std::fixed << f64v2 << '\n';

Possible output:

std::bit_cast<std::uint64_t>(19880124.000000) == 0x4172f58bc0000000
std::bit_cast<double>(0x3fe9000000000000) == 0.781250

Defect reports

The following behavior-changing defect reports were applied retroactively to
previously published C++ standards.

DR Applied to Behavior as published Correct behavior
CWG 2482 C++20 it was unspecified whether UB would occur when specified
(P1272R4) involving indeterminate bits

See also

start_lifetime_as implicitly creates objects in given storage with the object
start_lifetime_as_array representation reused
(C++23) (function template)