SALES: 1-800-867-1380
Information
The topic you requested is included in another documentation set. For convenience, it's displayed below. Choose Switch to see the topic in its original location.

Object.ToString Method

Updated: March 2011

Returns a string that represents the current object.

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

public virtual string ToString()

Return Value

Type: System.String
A string that represents the current object.

ToString is the major formatting method in the .NET Framework. It converts an object to its string representation so that it is suitable for display. (For information about formatting support in the .NET Framework, see Formatting Overview.)

The default implementation of the ToString method returns the fully qualified name of the type of the Object, as the following example shows.

using System;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      Object obj = new Object();
      Console.WriteLine(obj.ToString());
   }
}
// The example displays the following output: 
//      System.Object

Because Object is the base class of all reference types in the .NET Framework, this behavior is inherited by reference types that do not override the ToString method. The following example illustrates this. It defines a class named Object1 that accepts the default implementation of all Object members. Its ToString method returns the object's fully qualified type name.

using System;
using Examples;

namespace Examples
{
   public class Object1
   {
   }
}

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      object obj1 = new Object1();
      Console.WriteLine(obj1.ToString());
   }
}
// The example displays the following output: 
//   Examples.Object1

Types commonly override the ToString method to return a string that represents the object instance. For example, the base types such as Char, Int32, and String provide ToString implementations that return the string form of the value that the object represents. The following example defines a class, Object2, that overrides the ToString method to return the type name along with its value.

using System;

public class Object2
{
   private object value;

   public Object2(object value)
   {
      this.value = value;
   }

   public override string ToString()
   {
      return base.ToString() + ": " + value.ToString();
   }
}

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      Object2 obj2 = new Object2('a');
      Console.WriteLine(obj2.ToString());
   }
}
// The example displays the following output: 
//       Object2: a

Notes to Implementers:

When you implement your own types, you should override the ToString method to return values that are meaningful for those types. Derived classes that require more control over formatting than ToString provides can implement the IFormattable interface. Its IFormattable.ToString(String, IFormatProvider) method enables you to define format strings that control formatting and to use an IFormatProvider object that can provide for culture-specific formatting.

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

March 2011

Revised extensively.

Customer feedback.

Was this page helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback

Community Additions

Show:
© 2014 Microsoft