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DateTime.CompareTo Method (DateTime)

Compares the value of this instance to a specified DateTime value and returns an integer that indicates whether this instance is earlier than, the same as, or later than the specified DateTime value.

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

public int CompareTo(
	DateTime value


Type: System.DateTime
The object to compare to the current instance.

Return Value

Type: System.Int32
A signed number indicating the relative values of this instance and the value parameter.



Less than zero

This instance is earlier than value.


This instance is the same as value.

Greater than zero

This instance is later than value.



This method implements the System.IComparable<T> interface and performs slightly better than the DateTime.CompareTo(Object) method overload because it does not have to convert the value parameter to an object.

Before comparing DateTime objects, make sure that the objects represent times in the same time zone. You can do this by comparing the values of their Kind properties.

The following example instantiates three DateTime objects, one that represents today's date, another that represents the date one year previously, and a third that represents the date one year in the future. It then calls the CompareTo(DateTime) method and displays the result of the comparison.

using System;

public class DateTimeComparison
   private enum DateComparisonResult
      Earlier = -1,
      Later = 1,
      TheSame = 0

   public static void Main()
      DateTime thisDate = DateTime.Today;

      // Define two DateTime objects for today's date 
      // next year and last year		
      DateTime thisDateNextYear, thisDateLastYear;

      // Call AddYears instance method to add/substract 1 year
      thisDateNextYear = thisDate.AddYears(1);
      thisDateLastYear = thisDate.AddYears(-1);   

      // Compare dates
      DateComparisonResult comparison;
      // Compare today to last year
      comparison = (DateComparisonResult) thisDate.CompareTo(thisDateLastYear);
      Console.WriteLine("CompareTo method returns {0}: {1:d} is {2} than {3:d}", 
                        (int) comparison, thisDate, comparison.ToString().ToLower(), 

      // Compare today to next year
      comparison = (DateComparisonResult) thisDate.CompareTo(thisDateNextYear);
      Console.WriteLine("CompareTo method returns {0}: {1:d} is {2} than {3:d}", 
                        (int) comparison, thisDate, comparison.ToString().ToLower(), 
// If run on October 20, 2006, the example produces the following output:
//    CompareTo method returns 1: 10/20/2006 is later than 10/20/2005
//    CompareTo method returns -1: 10/20/2006 is earlier than 10/20/2007

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Portable Class Library

Supported in: Portable Class Library

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2 x64 Edition, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

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