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Enum.Parse Method (Type, String)

Updated: May 2009

Converts the string representation of the name or numeric value of one or more enumerated constants to an equivalent enumerated object.

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

public static Object Parse(
	Type enumType,
	string value


Type: System.Type

The Type of the enumeration.

Type: System.String

A string containing the name or value to convert.

Return Value

Type: System.Object
An object of type enumType whose value is represented by value.


enumType or value is null.


enumType is not an Enum.


value is either an empty string or only contains white space.


value is a name, but not one of the named constants defined for the enumeration.


value is outside the range of the underlying type of enumType.

The value parameter contains the string representation of an enumeration member's underlying value or named constant, or a list of named constants delimited by commas (,). One or more blank spaces can precede or follow each value, name, or comma in value. If value is a list, the return value is the value of the specified names combined with a bitwise OR operation.

If value is a name that does not correspond to a named constant of enumType, the method throws an ArgumentException. If value is the string representation of an integer that does not represent an underlying value of the enumType enumeration, the method returns an enumeration member whose underlying value is value converted to an integral type. If this behavior is undesirable, call the IsDefined method to ensure that a particular string representation of an integer is actually a member of enumType. The following example defines a Colors enumeration, calls the Parse(Type, String) method to convert strings to their corresponding enumeration values, and calls the IsDefined method to ensure that particular integral values are underlying values in the Colors enumeration.

using System;

[Flags] enum Colors { None=0, Red = 1, Green = 2, Blue = 4 };

public class Example
   public static void Main()
      string[] colorStrings = { "0", "2", "8", "blue", "Blue", "Yellow", "Red, Green" };
      foreach (string colorString in colorStrings)
         try {
            Colors colorValue = (Colors) Enum.Parse(typeof(Colors), colorString);        
            if (Enum.IsDefined(typeof(Colors), colorValue) | colorValue.ToString().Contains(","))  
               Console.WriteLine("Converted '{0}' to {1}.", colorString, colorValue.ToString());
               Console.WriteLine("{0} is not an underlying value of the Colors enumeration.", colorString);
         catch (ArgumentException) {
            Console.WriteLine("'{0}' is not a member of the Colors enumeration.", colorString);
// The example displays the following output: 
//       Converted '0' to None. 
//       Converted '2' to Green. 
//       8 is not an underlying value of the Colors enumeration. 
//       'blue' is not a member of the Colors enumeration. 
//       Converted 'Blue' to Blue. 
//       'Yellow' is not a member of the Colors enumeration. 
//       Converted 'Red, Green' to Red, Green.

This operation is case-sensitive.

The following example uses the Parse method to parse an array of strings created by calling the GetNames method. It also uses the Parse method to parse an enumeration value that consists of a bit field.

using System;

public class ParseTest
    enum Colors { Red = 1, Green = 2, Blue = 4, Yellow = 8 };

    public static void Main()
        Console.WriteLine("The entries of the Colors enumeration are:");
        foreach (string colorName in Enum.GetNames(typeof(Colors)))
            Console.WriteLine("{0} = {1:D}", colorName, 
                                         Enum.Parse(typeof(Colors), colorName));

        Colors orange = (Colors) Enum.Parse(typeof(Colors), "Red, Yellow");
        Console.WriteLine("The orange value {0:D} has the combined entries of {0}", 

This code example produces the following results:

The entries of the Colors Enum are:
Red = 1
Green = 2
Blue = 4
Yellow = 8

The orange value 9 has the combined entries of Red, Yellow


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

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




May 2009

Added OverflowException to the list of exceptions.

Content bug fix.

December 2008

Expanded the Remarks section and added an example.

Customer feedback.