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ObjectContext.CreateEntityKey Method

Creates the entity key for a specific object, or returns the entity key if it already exists.

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

public EntityKey CreateEntityKey(
	string entitySetName,
	Object entity


Type: System.String

The fully qualified name of the entity set to which the entity object belongs.

Type: System.Object

The object for which the entity key is being retrieved. The object must implement IEntityWithKey.

Return Value

Type: System.Data.EntityKey
The EntityKey of the object.


When either parameter is null.


When entitySetName is empty.


When the type of the entity object does not exist in the entity set.


When the entitySetName is not fully qualified.


When the entity key cannot be constructed successfully based on the supplied parameters.

If an EntityKey does not exist for the entity, the CreateEntityKey method creates a new key for it.

This method is used to determine whether an object that has the same EntityKey is already attached to the ObjectContext. If an object that has the same EntityKey is already attached, an exception is raised. Use the CreateEntityKey method to try to retrieve the EntityKey of the detached object before calling the Attach method.

The example in this topic is based on the Adventure Works Sales Model. In this example, CreateEntityKey is used to retrieve the entity key of an existing object.

private static void ApplyItemUpdates(SalesOrderDetail updatedItem)
    // Define an ObjectStateEntry and EntityKey for the current object.
    EntityKey key;
    object originalItem;

    using (AdventureWorksEntities advWorksContext =
        new AdventureWorksEntities())
            // Create the detached object's entity key.
            key = advWorksContext.CreateEntityKey("SalesOrderDetail", updatedItem);

            // Get the original item based on the entity key from the context 
            // or from the database. 
            if (advWorksContext.TryGetObjectByKey(key, out originalItem))
                // Call the ApplyPropertyChanges method to apply changes 
                // from the updated item to the original version.
                    key.EntitySetName, updatedItem);

        catch (InvalidOperationException ex)

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003

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 SP1