10 Essential Techniques for Clearing the Screen in C: A Comprehensive Guide


As a robust and adaptable language in the ever-changing landscape of programming, C is utilized in a wide array of applications, including game development, system software, and web services. One routine task often encountered by programmers is clearing the screen in C. This article offers an extensive exploration into the function’s implementation and use.

Exploring the Screen Clearing Function in C

C does not come with a built-in function to clear the screen. Nevertheless, several techniques have been devised using different libraries and system calls to accomplish this task. Let’s delve deeper into these methods.

1. Utilizing the System Function

The system function from the cstdlib library is often used to clear the screen in C. This function runs a shell command within a subshell environment.

#include<cstdlib> // For system function

int main() {
  std::cout << "Before clearing screen" << std::endl;
  system("CLS"); // For windows
  // system("clear"); // For Linux/Unix
  std::cout << "After clearing screen" << std::endl;
  return 0;

Note that “CLS” is used for Windows, while “clear” is used for Unix/Linux.

clearing the screen in C

2. Implementing ANSI Escape Sequences

For a more universal approach, ANSI escape sequences can be employed. These control characters are interpreted by the console to execute certain operations like moving the cursor or erasing the screen.


int main() {
  std::cout << "Before clearing screen" << std::endl;
  std::cout << "\033[2J\033[1;1H"; // ANSI escape sequence for clear screen
  std::cout << "After clearing screen" << std::endl;
  return 0;

The sequence \033[2J clears the entire screen, while \033[1;1H moves the cursor to row 1, column 1.

3. Using Conio.h

In compilers like Turbo C, clrscr() from conio.h can be used to clear the screen.


void main() {
  cout << "After clearing screen";

However, conio.h is not a standard library and may not be present in modern compilers.

Screen Clearing Best Practices in C

While these methods simplify the process of clearing the screen, they may lead to potential issues. For instance, the system function is considered risky as it can execute any command. This can result in security vulnerabilities if not handled with caution.

Furthermore, these methods could make your code less portable as they are platform-dependent. ANSI escape sequences are an exception, but not all consoles support them.

To maintain portability and security of your code, it’s advisable to limit the use of screen clearing operations. Instead, design your program in a way that doesn’t require constant screen clearing. You can overwrite existing output or use libraries like ncurses that offer greater control over console output.

For more information, check out a comprehensive guide to mastering dev c and c.


Clearing the screen in C might appear simple, but it necessitates careful consideration to maintain secure and portable code. By understanding the various methods and their potential drawbacks, you can make more informed decisions when programming. Remember, while C doesn’t provide a built-in function for clearing the screen, there’s always a method to achieve what you need with a little innovation and knowledge.

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