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.


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

Return value

The old value of obj.



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

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;


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 
    if(this != &other)
        n = std::exchange(other.n, 0); // move n, while leaving zero in other.n
    return *this;
Feature-test macro


#include <iostream>
#include <utility>
#include <vector>
#include <iterator>
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::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, ...

See also

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

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