Postfix to Prefix Conversion using Stack in C (C Program)

Postfix to Prefix

As we already know that any give operation in compiler can be expressed in 3 ways which are Infix, postfix and prefix, we shall see how to convert postfix to prefix operation via manual calculation and via code.

What postfix, infix, prefix rules are –

  • Infix: (X + Y)
  • Postfix – The postfix will look like, XY+
  • Prefix: The prefix will look like, +YX

Infix : (X + Y) / (U – V)

  • Postfix – The postfix will look like, XY+UV-/
  • Prefix – The prefix will look like, /+XY-UV

If we want to get postfix to infix all of us generally convert postfix to the infix and then convert Infix to prefix, as this is easier to do, and even we recommend to do the same.

  • What when Postfix is given and you want to calculate Prefix directly?
  • Or if you want to code the same doing temporary conversion to Infix will be time-consuming and longer code will be there.

Following is the algorithm-

A + B, where A and B are operands and + is operator, the whole A + B is expression.

  1. Start reading the expression from L – R i.e. Left to right
  2. If you encounter an operand, then do push in the stack
  3. If we encounter an operator then, pop two operands from the stack, and concatenate them, in +AB type of format
    1. And push the resultant sting back to the stack
  4. Repeat the above steps till end of the expression
  • Postfix: abc*d/+ed*-
  • Prefix: -+a/*bcd*ed
  • Infix: ((a+((b*c)/d))-(e*d))

Below is an implementation for it

Postfix to Prefix Conversion

Code for Postfix to Prefix in C

However, to code, we will apply different logic as it is difficult to push into the stack when we have a 2D array in C. For example, pushing a character ‘a’ is fine but pushing *bc which is a string and in a stack which already is an array needs 2D array so, we use other implementation in C. Please follow the code below and you will understand how this implementation works. 

Note – It has a different logic than the above rule explained.


#define MAX 20

char str[MAX], stack[MAX];
int top = -1;

void push(char c)
  stack[++top] = c;

char pop()
  return stack[top--];
// A utility function to check if the given character is operand 
int checkIfOperand(char ch)
  return (ch >= 'a' && ch <= 'z') || (ch >= 'A' && ch <= 'Z');

//function to check if it is an operator
int isOperator(char x) 
  switch (x) {
  case '+':
  case '-':
  case '/':
  case '*':
    return 1;
  return 0;

void postfixToprfix() 
  int n, i, j = 0;
  char c[20];
  char a, b, op;

  printf("Enter the postfix expression\n");
  scanf("%s", str);

  n = strlen(str);

  for (i = 0; i < MAX; i++)
    stack[i] = '\0';
  printf("Prefix expression is:\t");

  for (i = n - 1; i >= 0; i--)
    if (isOperator(str[i]))
    } else
      c[j++] = str[i];
      while ((top != -1) && (stack[top] == '#')) 
        a = pop();
        c[j++] = pop();
  c[j] = '\0';

  i = 0;
  j = strlen(c) - 1;
  char d[20];

  while (c[i] != '\0') {
    d[j--] = c[i++];

  printf("%s\n", d);

int main() 

  return 0;