BitConverter Class

Converts base data types to an array of bytes, and an array of bytes to base data types.

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

public static class BitConverter

The BitConverter type exposes the following members.

  NameDescription
Public methodStatic memberSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsDoubleToInt64BitsConverts the specified double-precision floating point number to a 64-bit signed integer.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(Boolean)Returns the specified Boolean value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(Char)Returns the specified Unicode character value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(Double)Returns the specified double-precision floating point value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(Int16)Returns the specified 16-bit signed integer value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(Int32)Returns the specified 32-bit signed integer value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(Int64)Returns the specified 64-bit signed integer value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(Single)Returns the specified single-precision floating point value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(UInt16)Returns the specified 16-bit unsigned integer value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(UInt32)Returns the specified 32-bit unsigned integer value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetBytes(UInt64)Returns the specified 64-bit unsigned integer value as an array of bytes.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsInt64BitsToDoubleConverts the specified 64-bit signed integer to a double-precision floating point number.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToBooleanReturns a Boolean value converted from one byte at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToCharReturns a Unicode character converted from two bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToDoubleReturns a double-precision floating point number converted from eight bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToInt16Returns a 16-bit signed integer converted from two bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToInt32Returns a 32-bit signed integer converted from four bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToInt64Returns a 64-bit signed integer converted from eight bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToSingleReturns a single-precision floating point number converted from four bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToString(Byte[])Converts the numeric value of each element of a specified array of bytes to its equivalent hexadecimal string representation.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToString(Byte[], Int32)Converts the numeric value of each element of a specified subarray of bytes to its equivalent hexadecimal string representation.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToString(Byte[], Int32, Int32)Converts the numeric value of each element of a specified subarray of bytes to its equivalent hexadecimal string representation.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToUInt16Returns a 16-bit unsigned integer converted from two bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToUInt32Returns a 32-bit unsigned integer converted from four bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Public methodStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToUInt64Returns a 64-bit unsigned integer converted from eight bytes at a specified position in a byte array.
Top

  NameDescription
Public fieldStatic memberSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsIsLittleEndianIndicates the byte order ("endianness") in which data is stored in this computer architecture.
Top

The BitConverter class helps manipulate value types in their fundamental form, as a series of bytes. A byte is defined as an 8-bit unsigned integer. The BitConverter class includes static methods to convert each of the primitive types to and from an array of bytes, as the following table illustrates.

If you use BitConverter methods to round-trip data, make sure that the GetBytes overload and the ToType method specify the same type. As the following example illustrates, restoring an array that represents a signed integer by calling the ToUInt32 method can result in a value that is different from the original. For more information, see the entry Working with Signed Non-Decimal and Bitwise Values in the BCL Team Blog.

using System;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      int value = -16;
      Byte[] bytes = BitConverter.GetBytes(value); 

      // Convert bytes back to Int32. 
      int intValue = BitConverter.ToInt32(bytes, 0);
      Console.WriteLine("{0} = {1}: {2}", 
                        value, intValue, 
                        value.Equals(intValue) ? "Round-trips" : "Does not round-trip");
      // Convert bytes to UInt32. 
      uint uintValue = BitConverter.ToUInt32(bytes, 0);
      Console.WriteLine("{0} = {1}: {2}", value, uintValue, 
                        value.Equals(uintValue) ? "Round-trips" : "Does not round-trip");
   }
}
// The example displays the following output: 
//       -16 = -16: Round-trips 
//       -16 = 4294967280: Does not round-trip

The order of bytes in the array returned by the GetBytes method overloads (as well as the order of bits in the integer returned by the DoubleToInt64Bits method and the order of hexadecimal strings returned by the ToString(Byte[]) method) depends on whether the computer architecture is little-endian or big-endian. Similarly, the order of bytes in the array and returned by the ToIntegerValue methods and the ToChar method depends on whether the computer architecture is little-endian or big-endian. The endianness of an architecture is indicated by the IsLittleEndian property, which returns true on little-endian systems and false on big-endian systems. On little-endian systems, lower-order bytes precede higher-order bytes. On big-endian system, higher-order bytes precede lower-order bytes. The following table illustrates the difference in the byte arrays that result from passing the integer 1,234,567,890 (0x499602D2) to the GetBytes(Int32) method. The bytes are listed in order from the byte at index 0 to the byte at index 3.

Little-endian

D2-02-96-49

Big-endian

49-96-02-D2

Because the return value of some methods depends on system architecture, be careful when transmitting byte data beyond machine boundaries:

  • If all systems sending and receiving data are guaranteed to have the same endianness, nothing has be done to the data.

  • If systems sending and receiving data can have different endianness, always transmit data in a particular order. This means that the order of bytes in the array may have to be reversed either before sending them or after receiving them. A common convention is to transmit data in network byte order (big-endian order). The following example provides an implementation for sending an integer value in network byte order.

    using System;
    
    public class Example
    {
       public static void Main()
       {
          int value = 12345678;
          byte[] bytes = BitConverter.GetBytes(value);
          Console.WriteLine(BitConverter.ToString(bytes));
    
          if (BitConverter.IsLittleEndian)
             Array.Reverse(bytes); 
    
          Console.WriteLine(BitConverter.ToString(bytes));
          // Call method to send byte stream across machine boundaries. 
    
          // Receive byte stream from beyond machine boundaries.
          Console.WriteLine(BitConverter.ToString(bytes));
          if (BitConverter.IsLittleEndian)
             Array.Reverse(bytes);
    
          Console.WriteLine(BitConverter.ToString(bytes));
          int result = BitConverter.ToInt32(bytes, 0);
          Console.WriteLine("Original value: {0}", value);
          Console.WriteLine("Returned value: {0}", result);
       }
    }
    // The example displays the following output on a little-endian system: 
    //       4E-61-BC-00 
    //       00-BC-61-4E 
    //       00-BC-61-4E 
    //       4E-61-BC-00 
    //       Original value: 12345678 
    //       Returned value: 12345678
    
  • If systems sending and receiving data can have different endianness and the data to be transmitted consists of signed integers, call the IPAddress.HostToNetworkOrder method to convert the data to network byte order and the IPAddress.NetworkToHostOrder method to convert it to the order required by the recipient.

The following code example illustrates the use of several BitConverter class methods.

// Example of BitConverter class methods. 
using System;

class BitConverterDemo
{
    public static void Main( )
    {
        const string formatter = "{0,25}{1,30}";

        double  aDoubl  = 0.1111111111111111111;
        float   aSingl  = 0.1111111111111111111F;
        long    aLong   = 1111111111111111111;
        int     anInt   = 1111111111;
        short   aShort  = 11111;
        char    aChar   = '*';
        bool    aBool   = true;

        Console.WriteLine( 
            "This example of methods of the BitConverter class" +
            "\ngenerates the following output.\n" );
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, "argument", "byte array" );
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, "--------", "----------" );

        // Convert values to Byte arrays and display them.
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, aDoubl, 
            BitConverter.ToString( BitConverter.GetBytes( aDoubl ) ) );
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, aSingl, 
            BitConverter.ToString( BitConverter.GetBytes( aSingl ) ) );
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, aLong, 
            BitConverter.ToString( BitConverter.GetBytes( aLong ) ) );
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, anInt, 
            BitConverter.ToString( BitConverter.GetBytes( anInt ) ) );
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, aShort, 
            BitConverter.ToString( BitConverter.GetBytes( aShort ) ) );
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, aChar, 
            BitConverter.ToString( BitConverter.GetBytes( aChar ) ) );
        Console.WriteLine( formatter, aBool, 
            BitConverter.ToString( BitConverter.GetBytes( aBool ) ) );
    }
}

/*
This example of methods of the BitConverter class
generates the following output.

                 argument                    byte array
                 --------                    ----------
        0.111111111111111       1C-C7-71-1C-C7-71-BC-3F
                0.1111111                   39-8E-E3-3D
      1111111111111111111       C7-71-C4-2B-AB-75-6B-0F
               1111111111                   C7-35-3A-42
                    11111                         67-2B
                        *                         2A-00
                     True                            01
*/

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.5, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Portable Class Library

Supported in: Portable Class Library

.NET for Windows Store apps

Supported in: Windows 8

.NET for Windows Phone apps

Supported in: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1, Windows Phone Silverlight 8

Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core Role not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core Role supported with SP1 or later; Itanium not supported)

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

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.
Was this page helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft