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The .NET Framework provides a consistent, flexible, and comprehensive means for you to represent any of the numeric, enumeration, and date and time base data types as a string. Formatting is controlled by strings of format specifier characters that indicate how a base type value is to be represented. For example, format specifiers indicate whether a formatted number should be represented in scientific notation, or whether a formatted date should present the month as a number or a name.
The .NET Framework also uses cultural settings to represent a base type in a form appropriate to a particular culture. You can supply custom cultural settings, or use the default cultural setting associated with the current thread. For example, when formatting a currency type, the cultural setting specifies the characters to use for the currency symbol, group separator, and decimal separator.
The .NET Framework allows you to define custom formatting schemes and custom cultural settings. This ability enables you to expand the formatting schemes of existing base types to accommodate custom scenarios, or create custom formatting schemes for custom types.