Windows apps
Collapse the table of content
Expand the table of content
The topic you requested is included in another documentation set. For convenience, it's displayed below. Choose Switch to see the topic in its original location.

Array::BinarySearch<T> Method (array<T>^, T)


The .NET API Reference documentation has a new home. Visit the .NET API Browser on to see the new experience.

Searches an entire one-dimensional sorted array for a specific element, using the IComparable<T> generic interface implemented by each element of the Array and by the specified object.

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

generic<typename T>
static int BinarySearch(
	array<T>^ array,
	T value


Type: array<T>^

The sorted one-dimensional, zero-based Array to search.

Type: T

The object to search for.

Return Value

Type: System::Int32

The index of the specified value in the specified array, if value is found; otherwise, a negative number. If value is not found and value is less than one or more elements in array, the negative number returned is the bitwise complement of the index of the first element that is larger than value. If value is not found and value is greater than all elements in array, the negative number returned is the bitwise complement of (the index of the last element plus 1). If this method is called with a non-sorted array, the return value can be incorrect and a negative number could be returned, even if value is present in array.

Type Parameters


The type of the elements of the array.

Exception Condition

array is null.


T does not implement the IComparable<T> generic interface.

This method does not support searching arrays that contain negative indexes. array must be sorted before calling this method.

If array does not contain the specified value, the method returns a negative integer. You can apply the bitwise complement operator (~ in C#, Not in Visual Basic) to the negative result to produce an index. If this index is equal to the size of the array, there are no elements larger than value in the array. Otherwise, it is the index of the first element that is larger than value.

T must implement the IComparable<T> generic interface, which is used for comparisons. The elements of array must already be sorted in increasing value according to the sort order defined by the IComparable<T> implementation; otherwise, the result might be incorrect.

Duplicate elements are allowed. If the Array contains more than one element equal to value, the method returns the index of only one of the occurrences, and not necessarily the first one.

null can always be compared with any other reference type; therefore, comparisons with null do not generate an exception.


For every element tested, value is passed to the appropriate IComparable<T> implementation, even if value is null. That is, the IComparable<T> implementation determines how a given element compares to null.

This method is an O(log n) operation, where n is the Length of array.

The following code example demonstrates the Sort<T>(array<T>^) generic method overload and the BinarySearch<T>(array<T>^, T) generic method overload. An array of strings is created, in no particular order.

The array is displayed, sorted, and displayed again. Arrays must be sorted in order to use the BinarySearch<T> method.


The calls to the Sort<T> and BinarySearch<T> generic methods do not look any different from calls to their nongeneric counterparts, because Visual Basic, C#, and C++ infer the type of the generic type parameter from the type of the first argument. If you use the Ildasm.exe (IL Disassembler) to examine the Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL), you can see that the generic methods are being called.

The BinarySearch<T>(array<T>^, T) generic method overload is then used to search for two strings, one that is not in the array and one that is. The array and the return value of the BinarySearch<T> method are passed to the ShowWhere generic method, which displays the index value if the string is found, and otherwise the elements the search string would fall between if it were in the array. The index is negative if the string is not in the array, so the ShowWhere method takes the bitwise complement (the ~ operator in C# and Visual C++, Xor-1 in Visual Basic) to obtain the index of the first element in the list that is larger than the search string.

using namespace System;
using namespace System::Collections::Generic;

generic<typename T> void ShowWhere(array<T>^ arr, int index)
    if (index<0)
        // If the index is negative, it represents the bitwise
        // complement of the next larger element in the array.
        index = ~index;

        Console::Write("Not found. Sorts between: ");

        if (index == 0)
            Console::Write("beginning of array and ");
            Console::Write("{0} and ", arr[index-1]);

        if (index == arr->Length)
            Console::WriteLine("end of array.");
            Console::WriteLine("{0}.", arr[index]);
        Console::WriteLine("Found at index {0}.", index);

void main()
    array<String^>^ dinosaurs = {"Pachycephalosaurus", 

    for each(String^ dinosaur in dinosaurs)


    for each(String^ dinosaur in dinosaurs)

    Console::WriteLine("\nBinarySearch for 'Coelophysis':");
    int index = Array::BinarySearch(dinosaurs, "Coelophysis");
    ShowWhere(dinosaurs, index);

    Console::WriteLine("\nBinarySearch for 'Tyrannosaurus':");
    index = Array::BinarySearch(dinosaurs, "Tyrannosaurus");
    ShowWhere(dinosaurs, index);

/* This code example produces the following output:




BinarySearch for 'Coelophysis':
Not found. Sorts between: Amargasaurus and Deinonychus.

BinarySearch for 'Tyrannosaurus':
Found at index 5.

Universal Windows Platform
Available since 8
.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
Return to top
© 2018 Microsoft