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Convert.FromBase64String Method

Updated: June 2011

Converts the specified string, which encodes binary data as base-64 digits, to an equivalent 8-bit unsigned integer array.

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

public static byte[] FromBase64String(
	string s


Type: System.String

The string to convert.

Return Value

Type: System.Byte[]
An array of 8-bit unsigned integers that is equivalent to s.


s is null.


The length of s, ignoring white-space characters, is not zero or a multiple of 4.


The format of s is invalid. s contains a non-base-64 character, more than two padding characters, or a non-white space-character among the padding characters.

s is composed of base-64 digits, white-space characters, and trailing padding characters. The base-64 digits in ascending order from zero are the uppercase characters "A" to "Z", lowercase characters "a" to "z", numerals "0" to "9", and the symbols "+" and "/".

The white-space characters, and their Unicode names and hexadecimal code points, are tab (CHARACTER TABULATION, U+0009), newline (LINE FEED, U+000A), carriage return (CARRIAGE RETURN, U+000D), and blank (SPACE, U+0020). An arbitrary number of white-space characters can appear in s because all white-space characters are ignored.

The valueless character, "=", is used for trailing padding. The end of s can consist of zero, one, or two padding characters.

Important noteImportant Note:

The FromBase64String method is designed to process a single string that contains all the data to be decoded. To decode base-64 character data from a stream, use the System.Security.Cryptography.FromBase64Transform class.

The following example demonstrates the use of the FromBase64String method to decode UUencoded (base-64) data and save it as binary output.

public void DecodeWithString() {
   System.IO.StreamReader inFile;    
   string base64String;

   try {
      char[] base64CharArray;
      inFile = new System.IO.StreamReader(inputFileName,
      base64CharArray = new char[inFile.BaseStream.Length];
      inFile.Read(base64CharArray, 0, (int)inFile.BaseStream.Length);
      base64String = new string(base64CharArray);
   catch (System.Exception exp) {
      // Error creating stream or reading from it.
      System.Console.WriteLine("{0}", exp.Message);

   // Convert the Base64 UUEncoded input into binary output.
   byte[] binaryData;
   try {
      binaryData = 
   catch (System.ArgumentNullException) {
      System.Console.WriteLine("Base 64 string is null.");
   catch (System.FormatException) {
      System.Console.WriteLine("Base 64 string length is not " +
         "4 or is not an even multiple of 4." );

   // Write out the decoded data.
   System.IO.FileStream outFile;
   try {
      outFile = new System.IO.FileStream(outputFileName,
      outFile.Write(binaryData, 0, binaryData.Length);
   catch (System.Exception exp) {
      // Error creating stream or writing to it.
      System.Console.WriteLine("{0}", exp.Message);

The following example demonstrates the ToBase64String and FromBase64String methods. The input is divided into groups of three bytes (24 bits) each. Consequently, each group consists of four 6-bit numbers where each number ranges from decimal 0 to 63. In this example, there are 85 3-byte groups with one byte remaining. The first group consists of the hexadecimal values 00, 01, and 02, which yield four 6-bit values equal to decimal 0, 0, 4, and 2. Those four values correspond to the base-64 digits, "A", "A", "E", and "C", at the beginning of the output.

If an integral number of 3-byte groups does not exist, the remaining bytes are effectively padded with zeros to form a complete group. In this example, the value of the last byte is hexadecimal FF. The first 6 bits are equal to decimal 63, which corresponds to the base-64 digit "/" at the end of the output, and the next 2 bits are padded with zeros to yield decimal 48, which corresponds to the base-64 digit, "w". The last two 6-bit values are padding and correspond to the valueless padding character, "=".

// This example demonstrates the Convert.ToBase64String() and  
//                               Convert.FromBase64String() methods 

using System;
class Sample 
    public static void Main() 
    byte[] inArray  = new byte[256];
    byte[] outArray = new byte[256];
    string s2;
    string s3;
    string step1 = "1) The input is a byte array (inArray) of arbitrary data.";
    string step2 = "2) Convert a subarray of the input data array to a base 64 string.";
    string step3 = "3) Convert the entire input data array to a base 64 string.";
    string step4 = "4) The two methods in steps 2 and 3 produce the same result?: {0}";
    string step5 = "5) Convert the base 64 string to an output byte array (outArray).";
    string step6 = "6) The input and output arrays, inArray and outArray, are equal?: {0}";
    int x;
    string nl = Environment.NewLine;
    string ruler1a = "         1         2         3         4";
    string ruler2a = "1234567890123456789012345678901234567890";
    string ruler3a = "----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+";
    string ruler1b = "         5         6         7      ";
    string ruler2b = "123456789012345678901234567890123456";
    string ruler3b = "----+----+----+----+----+----+----+-";
    string ruler   = String.Concat(ruler1a, ruler1b, nl, 
                                   ruler2a, ruler2b, nl,
                                   ruler3a, ruler3b, nl);

// 1) Display an arbitrary array of input data (inArray). The data could be  
//    derived from user input, a file, an algorithm, etc.

    for (x = 0; x < inArray.Length; x++)
        inArray[x] = (byte)x;
        Console.Write("{0:X2} ", inArray[x]);
        if (((x+1)%20) == 0) Console.WriteLine();
    Console.Write("{0}{0}", nl);

// 2) Convert a subarray of the input data to a base64 string. In this case,  
//    the subarray is the entire input data array. New lines (CRLF) are inserted.

    s2 = Convert.ToBase64String(inArray, 0, inArray.Length, 
    Console.WriteLine("{0}{1}{2}{3}", nl, ruler, s2, nl);

// 3) Convert the input data to a base64 string. In this case, the entire  
//    input data array is converted by default. New lines (CRLF) are inserted.

    s3 = Convert.ToBase64String(inArray, Base64FormattingOptions.InsertLineBreaks);

// 4) Test whether the methods in steps 2 and 3 produce the same result.
    Console.WriteLine(step4, s2.Equals(s3));

// 5) Convert the base 64 string to an output array (outArray).
    outArray = Convert.FromBase64String(s2);

// 6) Is outArray equal to inArray?
   Console.WriteLine(step6, ArraysAreEqual(inArray, outArray));

    public static bool ArraysAreEqual(byte[] a1, byte[] a2)
    if (a1.Length != a2.Length) return false;
    for (int i = 0; i < a1.Length; i++)
        if (a1[i] != a2[i]) return false;
    return true;
This example produces the following results:

1) The input is a byte array (inArray) of arbitrary data.

00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B
3C 3D 3E 3F 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 4A 4B 4C 4D 4E 4F
50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 5A 5B 5C 5D 5E 5F 60 61 62 63
64 65 66 67 68 69 6A 6B 6C 6D 6E 6F 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77
78 79 7A 7B 7C 7D 7E 7F 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 8A 8B
8C 8D 8E 8F 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 9A 9B 9C 9D 9E 9F
A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9 AA AB AC AD AE AF B0 B1 B2 B3
B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 BA BB BC BD BE BF C0 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7
C8 C9 CA CB CC CD CE CF D0 D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 DA DB
F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 FA FB FC FD FE FF

2) Convert a subarray of the input data array to a base 64 string.

         1         2         3         4         5         6         7

3) Convert the entire input data array to a base 64 string.
4) The two methods in steps 2 and 3 produce the same result?: True
5) Convert the base 64 string to an output byte array (outArray).
6) The input and output arrays, inArray and outArray, are equal?: True


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




June 2011

Added a note about converting data in a stream.

Customer feedback.