< cpp‎ | utility
Utilities library
Language support
Type support (basic types, RTTI)
Library feature-test macros (C++20)
Dynamic memory management
Program utilities
Coroutine support (C++20)
Variadic functions
Debugging support
Three-way comparison
General utilities
Date and time
Function objects
Formatting library (C++20)
Relational operators (deprecated in C++20)
Integer comparison functions
Swap and type operations
Common vocabulary types
Elementary string conversions

Defined in header <utility>
template< class T, class U = T >
T exchange( T& obj, U&& new_value );
(since C++14)
(until C++20)
template< class T, class U = T >
constexpr T exchange( T& obj, U&& new_value );
(since C++20)
(until C++23)
template< class T, class U = T >
constexpr T exchange( T& obj, U&& new_value ) noexcept(/* see below */);
(since C++23)

Replaces the value of obj with new_value and returns the old value of obj.


[edit] Parameters

obj - object whose value to replace
new_value - the value to assign to obj
Type requirements
T must meet the requirements of MoveConstructible. Also, it must be possible to move-assign objects of type U to objects of type T.

[edit] Return value

The old value of obj.

[edit] Exceptions


(until C++23)
noexcept specification:  
(since C++23)

[edit] Possible implementation

template<class T, class U = T>
constexpr // Since C++20
T exchange(T& obj, U&& new_value)
    noexcept( // Since C++23
        std::is_nothrow_move_constructible<T>::value &&
        std::is_nothrow_assignable<T&, U>::value
    T old_value = std::move(obj);
    obj = std::forward<U>(new_value);
    return old_value;

[edit] Notes

The std::exchange can be used when implementing move assignment operators and move constructors:

struct S
    int n;
    S(S&& other) noexcept : n{std::exchange(other.n, 0)} {}
    S& operator=(S&& other) noexcept
        n = std::exchange(other.n, 0); // Move n, while leaving zero in other.n
                                       // (note: in self-move-assignment, n is unchanged)
        return *this;
Feature-test macro Value Std Feature
__cpp_lib_exchange_function 201304L (C++14) std::exchange

[edit] Example

#include <iostream>
#include <iterator>
#include <utility>
#include <vector>
class stream
    using flags_type = int;
    flags_type flags() const { return flags_; }
    // Replaces flags_ by newf, and returns the old value.
    flags_type flags(flags_type newf) { return std::exchange(flags_, newf); }
    flags_type flags_ = 0;
void f() { std::cout << "f()"; }
int main()
    stream s;
    std::cout << s.flags() << '\n';
    std::cout << s.flags(12) << '\n';
    std::cout << s.flags() << "\n\n";
    std::vector<int> v;
    // Since the second template parameter has a default value, it is possible
    // to use a braced-init-list as second argument. The expression below
    // is equivalent to std::exchange(v, std::vector<int>{1, 2, 3, 4});
    std::exchange(v, {1, 2, 3, 4});
    std::copy(begin(v), end(v), std::ostream_iterator<int>(std::cout, ", "));
    std::cout << "\n\n";
    void (*fun)();
    // The default value of template parameter also makes possible to use a
    // normal function as second argument. The expression below is equivalent to
    // std::exchange(fun, static_cast<void(*)()>(f))
    std::exchange(fun, f);
    std::cout << "\n\nFibonacci sequence: ";
    for (int a{0}, b{1}; a < 100; a = std::exchange(b, a + b))
        std::cout << a << ", ";
    std::cout << "...\n";


1, 2, 3, 4,
Fibonacci sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, ...

[edit] See also

swaps the values of two objects
(function template) [edit]
atomically replaces the value of the atomic object with non-atomic argument and returns the old value of the atomic
(function template) [edit]