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C# Variables


C# Variables

Variables are containers for storing data values.

In C#, there are different types of variables (defined with different keywords), for example:

  • int - stores integers (whole numbers), without decimals, such as 123 or -123
  • double - stores floating point numbers, with decimals, such as 19.99 or -19.99
  • char - stores single characters, such as 'a' or 'B'. Char values are surrounded by single quotes
  • string - stores text, such as "Hello World". String values are surrounded by double quotes
  • bool - stores values with two states: true or false

Declaring (Creating) Variables

To create a variable, you must specify the type and assign it a value:

Syntax

type variableName = value;

Where type is a C# type (such as int or string), and variableName is the name of the variable (such as x or name). The equal sign is used to assign values to the variable.

To create a variable that should store text, look at the following example:

Example

Create a variable called name of type string and assign it the value "John":

string name = "John";
Console.WriteLine(name);

Run example »

To create a variable that should store a number, look at the following example:

Example

Create a variable called myNum of type int and assign it the value 15:

int myNum = 15;
Console.WriteLine(myNum);

Run example »

You can also declare a variable without assigning the value, and assign the value later:

Example

int myNum;
myNum = 15;
Console.WriteLine(myNum);

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Note that if you assign a new value to an existing variable, it will overwrite the previous value:

Example

Change the value of myNum to 20:

int myNum = 15;
myNum = 20; // myNum is now 20
Console.WriteLine(myNum);

Run example »


Constants

However, you can add the const keyword if you don't want others (or yourself) to overwrite existing values (this will declare the variable as "constant", which means unchangeable and read-only):

Example

const int myNum = 15;
myNum = 20; // error

The const keyword is useful when you want a variable to always store the same value, so that others (or yourself) won't mess up your code. An example that is often referred to as a constant, is PI (3.14159...).

Note: You cannot declare a constant variable without assigning the value. If you do, an error will occur: A const field requires a value to be provided.


Other Types

A demonstration of how to declare variables of other types:

Example

int myNum = 5;
float myFloatNum = 5.99f;
char myLetter = 'D';
bool myBool = true;
string myText = "Hello";

You will learn more about data types in the next chapter.


Display Variables

The WriteLine() method is often used to display variable values to the console window.

To combine both text and a variable, use the + character:

Example

string name = "John";
Console.WriteLine("Hello " + name);

Run example »

You can also use the + character to add a variable to another variable:

Example

string firstName = "John ";
string lastName = "Doe";
string fullName = firstName + lastName;
Console.WriteLine(fullName);

Run example »

For numeric values, the + character works as a mathematical operator (notice that we use int (integer) variables here):

Example

int x = 5;
int y = 6;
Console.WriteLine(x + y); // Print the value of x + y

Run example »

From the example above, you can expect:

  • x stores the value 5
  • y stores the value 6
  • Then we use the WriteLine() method to display the value of x + y, which is 11

Declare Many Variables

To declare more than one variable of the same type, use a comma-separated list:

Example

int x = 5, y = 6, z = 50;
Console.WriteLine(x + y + z);

Run example »


C# Identifiers

All C# variables must be identified with unique names.

These unique names are called identifiers.

Identifiers can be short names (like x and y) or more descriptive names (age, sum, totalVolume).

Note: It is recommended to use descriptive names in order to create understandable and maintainable code.

The general rules for constructing names for variables (unique identifiers) are:

  • Names can contain letters, digits and the underscore character (_)
  • Names must begin with a letter
  • Names should start with a lowercase letter and it cannot contain whitespace
  • Names are case sensitive ("myVar" and "myvar" are different variables)
  • Reserved words (like C# keywords, such as int or double) cannot be used as names