StructLayoutAttribute Class

Updated: June 2011

The StructLayoutAttribute class allows the user to control the physical layout of the data fields of a class or structure.

Namespace:  System.Runtime.InteropServices
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

[AttributeUsageAttribute(AttributeTargets.Class|AttributeTargets.Struct, Inherited = false)]
[ComVisibleAttribute(true)]
public sealed class StructLayoutAttribute : Attribute

You can apply this attribute to classes or structures.

The common language runtime controls the physical layout of the data fields of a class or structure in managed memory. However, if you want to pass the type to unmanaged code, you can use the StructLayoutAttribute attribute to control the unmanaged layout of the type. Use the attribute with LayoutKind.Sequential to force the members to be laid out sequentially in the order they appear. For blittable types, LayoutKind.Sequential controls both the layout in managed memory and the layout in unmanaged memory. For non-blittable types, it controls the layout when the class or structure is marshaled to unmanaged code, but does not control the layout in managed memory. Use the attribute with LayoutKind.Explicit to control the precise position of each data member. This affects both managed and unmanaged layout, for both blittable and non-blittable types. Using LayoutKind.Explicit requires that you use the FieldOffsetAttribute attribute to indicate the position of each field within the type.

C#, Visual Basic, and C++ compilers apply the Sequential layout value to structures by default. For classes, you must apply the LayoutKind.Sequential value explicitly. The Type Library Importer (Tlbimp.exe) also applies the StructLayoutAttribute attribute; it always applies the LayoutKind.Sequential value when it imports a type library.

The following example demonstrates a managed declaration of the GetSystemTime function and defines MySystemTime class with LayoutKind.Explicit layout. GetSystemTime gets the system time and prints to the console.

using System;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

namespace InteropSample
{   

   [StructLayout(LayoutKind.Explicit, Size=16, CharSet=CharSet.Ansi)]
   public class MySystemTime 
   {
      [FieldOffset(0)]public ushort wYear; 
      [FieldOffset(2)]public ushort wMonth;
      [FieldOffset(4)]public ushort wDayOfWeek; 
      [FieldOffset(6)]public ushort wDay; 
      [FieldOffset(8)]public ushort wHour; 
      [FieldOffset(10)]public ushort wMinute; 
      [FieldOffset(12)]public ushort wSecond; 
      [FieldOffset(14)]public ushort wMilliseconds; 
   }

   class LibWrapper
   {
      [DllImport("kernel32.dll")]
      public static extern void GetSystemTime([MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.LPStruct)]MySystemTime st);
   };

   class TestApplication
   {      
      public static void Main()
      {
         try
         {
            MySystemTime sysTime = new MySystemTime();
            LibWrapper.GetSystemTime(sysTime);
            Console.WriteLine("The System time is {0}/{1}/{2} {3}:{4}:{5}", sysTime.wDay,
               sysTime.wMonth, sysTime.wYear, sysTime.wHour, sysTime.wMinute, sysTime.wSecond);            
         }         
         catch(TypeLoadException e)
         {
            Console.WriteLine("TypeLoadException : " + e.Message);
         }
         catch(Exception e)
         {
            Console.WriteLine("Exception : " + e.Message);
         }
      }
   }
}

System.Object
  System.Attribute
    System.Runtime.InteropServices.StructLayoutAttribute

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0

Date

History

Reason

June 2011

Clarified the effects on managed and unmanaged layout.

Content bug fix.

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