CompareTo Method (Char)
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Char.CompareTo Method (Char)


Compares this instance to a specified Char object and indicates whether this instance precedes, follows, or appears in the same position in the sort order as the specified Char object.

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

public int CompareTo(
	char value


Type: System.Char

A Char object to compare.

Return Value

Type: System.Int32

A signed number indicating the position of this instance in the sort order in relation to the value parameter.

Return Value


Less than zero

This instance precedes value.


This instance has the same position in the sort order as value.

Greater than zero

This instance follows value.

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

The comparison performed by this method is based on the encoded values of this instance and value, not their lexicographical characteristics.

If the CompareTo method parameter type has fewer bits (is narrower) than the instance type, some programming languages perform an implicit widening conversion that transforms the value of the parameter into a value with more bits.

For example, suppose the instance type is Int32 and the parameter type is Byte. The Microsoft C# compiler generates instructions to represent the value of the parameter as an Int32 object, then generates a Int32.CompareTo method that compares the values of the Int32 instance and the Int32 parameter representation.

Typically, implicit widening conversions are performed on numeric types. Consult your programming language's documentation to determine if its compiler performs widening conversions. If the instance and parameter types mismatch and a suitable conversion is not available, the compiler generates instructions to box the parameter and invoke the CompareTo overload that takes an Object parameter.

The following code example demonstrates generic and non-generic versions of the CompareTo method for several value and reference types.

// This example demonstrates the generic and non-generic versions of the 
// CompareTo method for several base types.
// The non-generic version takes a parameter of type Object, while the generic
// version takes a type-specific parameter, such as Boolean, Int32, or Double.

using System;

class Sample 
    public static void Main() 
    string    nl = Environment.NewLine;
    string    msg = "{0}The following is the result of using the generic and non-generic{0}" +
                    "versions of the CompareTo method for several base types:{0}";

    DateTime  now = DateTime.Now;
// Time span = 11 days, 22 hours, 33 minutes, 44 seconds
    TimeSpan  tsX = new TimeSpan(11, 22, 33, 44); 
// Version = 1.2.333.4
    Version   versX = new Version("1.2.333.4");  
// Guid = CA761232-ED42-11CE-BACD-00AA0057B223
    Guid      guidX = new Guid("{CA761232-ED42-11CE-BACD-00AA0057B223}");

    Boolean  a1 = true,  a2 = true;
    Byte     b1 = 1,     b2 = 1;
    Int16    c1 = -2,    c2 = 2;
    Int32    d1 = 3,     d2 = 3;
    Int64    e1 = 4,     e2 = -4;
    Decimal  f1 = -5.5m, f2 = 5.5m;
    Single   g1 = 6.6f,  g2 = 6.6f;
    Double   h1 = 7.7d,  h2 = -7.7d;
    Char     i1 = 'A',   i2 = 'A';
    String   j1 = "abc", j2 = "abc";
    DateTime k1 = now,   k2 = now;
    TimeSpan l1 = tsX,   l2 = tsX;
    Version  m1 = versX, m2 = new Version("2.0");
    Guid     n1 = guidX, n2 = guidX;

// The following types are not CLS-compliant.
    SByte    w1 = 8,     w2 = 8;
    UInt16   x1 = 9,     x2 = 9;
    UInt32   y1 = 10,    y2 = 10;
    UInt64   z1 = 11,    z2 = 11;
    Console.WriteLine(msg, nl);
// The second and third Show method call parameters are automatically boxed because
// the second and third Show method declaration arguments expect type Object.

        Show("Boolean:  ", a1, a2, a1.CompareTo(a2), a1.CompareTo((Object)a2));
        Show("Byte:     ", b1, b2, b1.CompareTo(b2), b1.CompareTo((Object)b2));
        Show("Int16:    ", c1, c2, c1.CompareTo(c2), c1.CompareTo((Object)c2));
        Show("Int32:    ", d1, d2, d1.CompareTo(d2), d1.CompareTo((Object)d2));
        Show("Int64:    ", e1, e2, e1.CompareTo(e2), e1.CompareTo((Object)e2));
        Show("Decimal:  ", f1, f2, f1.CompareTo(f2), f1.CompareTo((Object)f2));
        Show("Single:   ", g1, g2, g1.CompareTo(g2), g1.CompareTo((Object)g2));
        Show("Double:   ", h1, h2, h1.CompareTo(h2), h1.CompareTo((Object)h2));
        Show("Char:     ", i1, i2, i1.CompareTo(i2), i1.CompareTo((Object)i2));
        Show("String:   ", j1, j2, j1.CompareTo(j2), j1.CompareTo((Object)j2));
        Show("DateTime: ", k1, k2, k1.CompareTo(k2), k1.CompareTo((Object)k2));
        Show("TimeSpan: ", l1, l2, l1.CompareTo(l2), l1.CompareTo((Object)l2));
        Show("Version:  ", m1, m2, m1.CompareTo(m2), m1.CompareTo((Object)m2));
        Show("Guid:     ", n1, n2, n1.CompareTo(n2), n1.CompareTo((Object)n2));
        Console.WriteLine("{0}The following types are not CLS-compliant:", nl);
        Show("SByte:    ", w1, w2, w1.CompareTo(w2), w1.CompareTo((Object)w2));
        Show("UInt16:   ", x1, x2, x1.CompareTo(x2), x1.CompareTo((Object)x2));
        Show("UInt32:   ", y1, y2, y1.CompareTo(y2), y1.CompareTo((Object)y2));
        Show("UInt64:   ", z1, z2, z1.CompareTo(z2), z1.CompareTo((Object)z2));
    catch (Exception e)

    public static void Show(string caption, Object var1, Object var2, 
                            int resultGeneric, int resultNonGeneric)
    string relation;

    if (resultGeneric == resultNonGeneric) 
        if      (resultGeneric < 0) relation = "less than";
        else if (resultGeneric > 0) relation = "greater than";
        else                        relation = "equal to";
        Console.WriteLine("{0} is {1} {2}", var1, relation, var2);

// The following condition will never occur because the generic and non-generic
// CompareTo methods are equivalent.

        Console.WriteLine("Generic CompareTo = {0}; non-generic CompareTo = {1}", 
                           resultGeneric, resultNonGeneric);
This example produces the following results:

The following is the result of using the generic and non-generic versions of the
CompareTo method for several base types:

Boolean:  True is equal to True
Byte:     1 is equal to 1
Int16:    -2 is less than 2
Int32:    3 is equal to 3
Int64:    4 is greater than -4
Decimal:  -5.5 is less than 5.5
Single:   6.6 is equal to 6.6
Double:   7.7 is greater than -7.7
Char:     A is equal to A
String:   abc is equal to abc
DateTime: 12/1/2003 5:37:46 PM is equal to 12/1/2003 5:37:46 PM
TimeSpan: 11.22:33:44 is equal to 11.22:33:44
Version:  1.2.333.4 is less than 2.0
Guid:     ca761232-ed42-11ce-bacd-00aa0057b223 is equal to ca761232-ed42-11ce-bacd-00

The following types are not CLS-compliant:
SByte:    8 is equal to 8
UInt16:   9 is equal to 9
UInt32:   10 is equal to 10
UInt64:   11 is equal to 11

Universal Windows Platform
Available since 4.5
.NET Framework
Available since 2.0
Portable Class Library
Supported in: portable .NET platforms
Available since 2.0
Windows Phone Silverlight
Available since 7.0
Windows Phone
Available since 8.1
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