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DataColumn Class

Represents the schema of a column in a DataTable.

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

public class DataColumn : 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 DataTable (ADO.NET).

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 Data Type Mappings in ADO.NET.

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 (ADO.NET). For more information, see Defining Primary Keys (ADO.NET).

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 DataTable Constraints (ADO.NET).

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 (ADO.NET).

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 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