SDL Wiki
(This is the legacy documentation for stable SDL2, the current stable version; SDL3 is the current development version.)


Set the SDL error message for the current thread.

Header File

Defined in SDL_error.h, but apps should only #include "SDL.h"!


int SDL_SetError(SDL_PRINTF_FORMAT_STRING const char *fmt, ...) SDL_PRINTF_VARARG_FUNC(1);

Function Parameters

fmt a printf()-style message format string
... additional parameters matching % tokens in the fmt string, if any

Return Value

Returns always -1.


Calling this function will replace any previous error message that was set.

This function always returns -1, since SDL frequently uses -1 to signify an failing result, leading to this idiom:

if (error_code) {
    return SDL_SetError("This operation has failed: %d", error_code);


This function is available since SDL 2.0.0.

See Also

CategoryAPI, CategoryAPIFunction, CategoryError

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