DataColumn Class

Represents the schema of a column in a DataTable.

Namespace: System.Data
Assembly: System.Data (in

public class DataColumn : MarshalByValueComponent
public class DataColumn extends MarshalByValueComponent
public class DataColumn extends MarshalByValueComponent

The DataColumn is the fundamental building block for creating the schema of a DataTable. You build the schema by adding one or more DataColumn objects to the DataColumnCollection. For more information, see Adding Columns to a Table.

Each DataColumn has a DataType property that determines the kind of data the DataColumn contains. For example, you can restrict the data type to integers, or strings, or decimals. Because data that is contained by the DataTable is typically merged back into its original data source, you must match the data types to those in the data source. For more information, see Mapping Data Provider Data Types to .NET Framework Data Types.

Properties such as AllowDBNull, Unique, and ReadOnly put restrictions on the entry and updating of data, thereby helping to guarantee data integrity. You can also use the AutoIncrement, AutoIncrementSeed, and AutoIncrementStep properties to control automatic data generation. For more information about AutoIncrement columns, see Creating AutoIncrement Columns. For more information, see Defining a Primary Key for a Table.

You can also make sure that values in a DataColumn are unique by creating a UniqueConstraint and adding it to the ConstraintCollection of the DataTable to which the DataColumn belongs. For more information, see Adding Constraints to a Table.

To create a relation between DataColumn objects, create a DataRelation object and add it to the DataRelationCollection of a DataSet.

You can use the Expression property of the DataColumn object to calculate the values in a column, or create an aggregate column. For more information, see Creating Expression Columns.

The following example creates a DataTable with several DataColumn objects.

private void MakeTable()
    // Create a DataTable. 
    DataTable table = new DataTable("Product");

    // Create a DataColumn and set various properties. 
    DataColumn column = new DataColumn(); 
    column.DataType = System.Type.GetType("System.Decimal"); 
    column.AllowDBNull = false; 
    column.Caption = "Price"; 
    column.ColumnName = "Price"; 
    column.DefaultValue = 25; 

    // Add the column to the table. 

    // Add 10 rows and set values. 
    DataRow row; 
    for(int i = 0; i < 10; i++)
        row = table.NewRow(); 
        row["Price"] = i + 1; 

        // Be sure to add the new row to the 
        // DataRowCollection. 

This type is safe for multithreaded read operations. You must synchronize any write operations.

Windows 98, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows CE, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

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

.NET Framework

Supported in: 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 2.0, 1.0