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Constants Overview (Visual Basic)

A constant is a meaningful name that takes the place of a number or string that does not change. Constants store values that, as the name implies, remain the same throughout the execution of an application. You can greatly improve the readability of your code and make it easier to maintain by using constants. Use them in code that contains values that reappear or that depends on certain numbers that are difficult to remember or have no obvious meaning.

Visual Basic contains a number of predefined constants, mainly using for printing and displaying. You can also create your own constants with the Const statement, using the same guidelines you would for creating a variable name. If Option Strict is On, you must explicitly declare the constant type.

A constant's scope, which is the set of all code that can refer to it without qualifying its name, is the same as that of a variable declared in the same location. To create a constant that exists within the scope of a particular procedure, declare it inside that procedure. To create a constant that is available throughout an application, declare it using the Public keyword in the declarations section of the class.

NoteNote

Although constants somewhat resemble variables, you cannot modify them or assign new values to them as you can to variables.

The constants you use in your code can be defined by the object model for controls or components you work with, or they can be user-defined (that is, those you create yourself).

A compile-time constant is computed at the time the code is compiled, while a run-time constant can only be computed while the application is running. A compile-time constant will have the same value each time an application runs, while a run-time constant may change each time. Compile-time constants are required for cases such as array bounds, case expressions, or enumerator initializers.

Definition

Term

How to: Declare A Constant (Visual Basic)

Explains how to use the Const statement to declare a constant and set its value; by declaring a constant, you assign a meaningful name to the value.

User-Defined Constants (Visual Basic)

Describes how to create your own constants, including information on scoping and how to avoid circular references.

Constant and Literal Data Types (Visual Basic)

Provides information on how the Visual Basic compiler initializes constants when Option Explicit is turned off.

How to: Group Related Constant Values Together (Visual Basic)

Demonstrates how to group constant values that are related.

Definition

Term

Constants and Enumerations (Visual Basic)

Lists the constants predefined by Visual Basic.

Const Statement (Visual Basic)

Describes the Const statement and its use.

Option Strict Statement

Describes the Option Strict statement and its use.

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