The Standard

The current ISO C++ standard is officially known as ISO International Standard ISO/IEC 14882:2014(E) -- Programming Language C++.

Want to read the ISO C++ standard, or working drafts of the standard? You have several options, most of them free.

Where To Get the Current Standard

  • Purchase the (previous) C++11 official standard (US$60). You can purchase the official C++11 standard for US$60 at the ANSI Store. (Note: The C++14 standard is in the process of being published and not yet available at the store.)
  • Download the November 2014 working draft (free). Except only for the final standards/reports, all C++ committee documents are freely publicly available, including all working drafts, many of which closely approximate the published standard. This working draft contains the C++14 standard plus minor editorial changes.

Where To Get Working Drafts

FAQs

Q: Why is the standard hard to read? I'm having trouble learning C++ from reading it.

Please note that the standard is not intended to teach how to use C++. Rather, it is an international treaty -- a formal, legal, and sometimes mind-numbingly detailed technical document intended primarily for people writing C++ compilers and standard library implementations.

Fortunately, there are lots of good books that do teach how to use C++! See these recommendations as a starting point for high-quality tutorial and reference information about how to learn and use C++.

Q: Why are the C++ working drafts freely available on GitHub when the standard must be purchased from ISO or another standards organization?

ISO holds the copyright for all balloted drafts of the standard, as well as the standard itself. The GitHub repo contains the incremental in-progress working source snapshots as they are edited, which are not the final standards.

The only documents that the C++ committee is not permitted to provide freely are the final published standards. The draft repository on GitHub does not contain the final source for any published standards. It contains interim working materials only, and those differ in their contents from the published standards.