CompareTo Method (Char)
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Char.CompareTo Method (Char)

[ This article is for Windows Phone 8 developers. If you’re developing for Windows 10, see the latest documentation. ]

Compares this instance to a specified Char object and returns an integer that indicates whether this instance precedes, follows, or has the same position in the sort order as the specified Char value.

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

public int CompareTo(
	char value


Type: System.Char
A Char object to compare.

Return Value

Type: System.Int32
A signed number indicating the position of this instance in the sort order in relation to the value parameter.

Return Value


Less than zero

This instance precedes value.


This instance has the same position in the sort order as value.

Greater than zero

This instance follows value.



This method implements the System.IComparable<T> interface and performs slightly better than the Char.CompareTo method because it does not have to convert the value parameter to an object.

The comparison performed by this method is based on the encoded values of this instance and value, not their lexicographical characteristics.

If the CompareTo method parameter type has fewer bits (is narrower) than the instance type, some programming languages perform an implicit widening conversion that transforms the value of the parameter into a value with more bits.

For example, suppose the instance type is Int32 and the parameter type is Byte. The Microsoft C# compiler generates instructions to represent the value of the parameter as an Int32 object, then generates a Int32.CompareTo method that compares the values of the Int32 instance and the Int32 parameter representation.

Typically, implicit widening conversions are performed on numeric types. Consult your programming language's documentation to determine if its compiler performs widening conversions. If the instance and parameter types mismatch and a suitable conversion is not available, the compiler generates instructions to box the parameter and invoke the CompareTo overload that takes an Object parameter.

The following example demonstrates generic and non-generic versions of the CompareTo method for several value and reference types.

// This example demonstrates the generic and non-generic versions of the 
// CompareTo method for several base types.
// The non-generic version takes a parameter of type Object, while the generic
// version takes a type-specific parameter, such as Boolean, Int32, or Double.

using System;

class Example
   public static void Demo(System.Windows.Controls.TextBlock outputBlock)
      string nl = "\n";
      string msg = "{0}The following is the result of using the generic and non-generic{0}" +
                      "versions of the CompareTo method for several base types:{0}";

      DateTime now = DateTime.Now;
      // Time span = 11 days, 22 hours, 33 minutes, 44 seconds
      TimeSpan tsX = new TimeSpan(11, 22, 33, 44);
      // Version = 1.2.333.4
      Version versX = new Version("1.2.333.4");
      // Guid = CA761232-ED42-11CE-BACD-00AA0057B223
      Guid guidX = new Guid("{CA761232-ED42-11CE-BACD-00AA0057B223}");

      Boolean a1 = true, a2 = true;
      Byte b1 = 1, b2 = 1;
      Int16 c1 = -2, c2 = 2;
      Int32 d1 = 3, d2 = 3;
      Int64 e1 = 4, e2 = -4;
      Decimal f1 = -5.5m, f2 = 5.5m;
      Single g1 = 6.6f, g2 = 6.6f;
      Double h1 = 7.7d, h2 = -7.7d;
      Char i1 = 'A', i2 = 'A';
      String j1 = "abc", j2 = "abc";
      DateTime k1 = now, k2 = now;
      TimeSpan l1 = tsX, l2 = tsX;
      Version m1 = versX, m2 = new Version("2.0");
      Guid n1 = guidX, n2 = guidX;

      // The following types are not CLS-compliant.
      SByte w1 = 8, w2 = 8;
      UInt16 x1 = 9, x2 = 9;
      UInt32 y1 = 10, y2 = 10;
      UInt64 z1 = 11, z2 = 11;
      outputBlock.Text += String.Format(msg, nl) + "\n";
         // The second and third Show method call parameters are automatically boxed because
         // the second and third Show method declaration arguments expect type Object.

         Show(outputBlock, "Boolean:  ", a1, a2, a1.CompareTo(a2), a1.CompareTo((Object)a2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Byte:     ", b1, b2, b1.CompareTo(b2), b1.CompareTo((Object)b2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Int16:    ", c1, c2, c1.CompareTo(c2), c1.CompareTo((Object)c2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Int32:    ", d1, d2, d1.CompareTo(d2), d1.CompareTo((Object)d2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Int64:    ", e1, e2, e1.CompareTo(e2), e1.CompareTo((Object)e2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Decimal:  ", f1, f2, f1.CompareTo(f2), f1.CompareTo((Object)f2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Single:   ", g1, g2, g1.CompareTo(g2), g1.CompareTo((Object)g2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Double:   ", h1, h2, h1.CompareTo(h2), h1.CompareTo((Object)h2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Char:     ", i1, i2, i1.CompareTo(i2), i1.CompareTo((Object)i2));
         Show(outputBlock, "String:   ", j1, j2, j1.CompareTo(j2), j1.CompareTo((Object)j2));
         Show(outputBlock, "DateTime: ", k1, k2, k1.CompareTo(k2), k1.CompareTo((Object)k2));
         Show(outputBlock, "TimeSpan: ", l1, l2, l1.CompareTo(l2), l1.CompareTo((Object)l2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Version:  ", m1, m2, m1.CompareTo(m2), m1.CompareTo((Object)m2));
         Show(outputBlock, "Guid:     ", n1, n2, n1.CompareTo(n2), n1.CompareTo((Object)n2));
         outputBlock.Text += String.Format("{0}The following types are not CLS-compliant:", nl) + "\n";
         Show(outputBlock, "SByte:    ", w1, w2, w1.CompareTo(w2), w1.CompareTo((Object)w2));
         Show(outputBlock, "UInt16:   ", x1, x2, x1.CompareTo(x2), x1.CompareTo((Object)x2));
         Show(outputBlock, "UInt32:   ", y1, y2, y1.CompareTo(y2), y1.CompareTo((Object)y2));
         Show(outputBlock, "UInt64:   ", z1, z2, z1.CompareTo(z2), z1.CompareTo((Object)z2));
      catch (Exception e)
         outputBlock.Text += e + "\n";

   public static void Show(System.Windows.Controls.TextBlock outputBlock, string caption, Object var1, Object var2,
                           int resultGeneric, int resultNonGeneric)
      string relation;

      outputBlock.Text += caption;
      if (resultGeneric == resultNonGeneric)
         if (resultGeneric < 0) relation = "less than";
         else if (resultGeneric > 0) relation = "greater than";
         else relation = "equal to";
         outputBlock.Text += String.Format("{0} is {1} {2}", var1, relation, var2) + "\n";

  // The following condition will never occur because the generic and non-generic
      // CompareTo methods are equivalent.

         outputBlock.Text += String.Format("Generic CompareTo = {0}; non-generic CompareTo = {1}",
                            resultGeneric, resultNonGeneric) + "\n";
This example produces the following results:

The following is the result of using the generic and non-generic versions of the
CompareTo method for several base types:

Boolean:  True is equal to True
Byte:     1 is equal to 1
Int16:    -2 is less than 2
Int32:    3 is equal to 3
Int64:    4 is greater than -4
Decimal:  -5.5 is less than 5.5
Single:   6.6 is equal to 6.6
Double:   7.7 is greater than -7.7
Char:     A is equal to A
String:   abc is equal to abc
DateTime: 12/1/2003 5:37:46 PM is equal to 12/1/2003 5:37:46 PM
TimeSpan: 11.22:33:44 is equal to 11.22:33:44
Version:  1.2.333.4 is less than 2.0
Guid:     ca761232-ed42-11ce-bacd-00aa0057b223 is equal to ca761232-ed42-11ce-bacd-00

The following types are not CLS-compliant:
SByte:    8 is equal to 8
UInt16:   9 is equal to 9
UInt32:   10 is equal to 10
UInt64:   11 is equal to 11

Windows Phone OS

Supported in: 8.1, 8.0, 7.1, 7.0

Windows Phone

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