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C# Operators

By on in Coding

563 words, estimated reading time 3 minutes.

Introduction to Programming with C# Series
  1. Introduction to Programming with C# 7
  2. C# Programming Fundamentals
  3. Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming
  4. C# Object-Oriented Programming Part 2
  5. Flow Control and Control Structures in C#
  6. C# Data Types, Variables and Casting
  7. C# Collection Types (Array, List, Dictionary, Hash Table)
  8. C# Operators
  9. Using Data in C# 7 with ADO.Net & Entity Framework
  10. LINQ: .NET Language Integrated Query
  11. Error and Exception Handling in C#
  12. Advanced C# Programming Topics
  13. Reflection in C#
  14. What Are ASP.Net Webforms
  15. Introduction to ASP.Net MVC
  16. Windows Application Development
  17. Assemblies in C#
  18. Working with Resources Files, Culture & Regions
  19. Regular Expressions in C#
  20. Introduction to XML with C#
  21. Complete Guide to File Handling in C#

An operator is an element that is applied to one or more operands in an expression or statement. These are typically arithmetic or logical operators used for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, or comparison.

We will also look at changing the behaviour of operators for custom classes and structs. This process is referred to as operator overloading.

C# Operator List

The most common of the operators are the arithmetic and logic operators. These will be very familiar to you is you know other programming languages or mathematics.


+Additionz = 1 + 2z = 3
-Subtractionz = 1 - 2z = -1
*Multiplicationz = 2 * 2z = 4
/Divisionz = 22 / 7z = 3.142857
%Modulusz = 22 % 7z = 1
The modulus operator (%) computes the remainder after dividing its first operand by its second.


&& Logical ANDtrue && false
true && true
false && false
||Logical ORtrue || false
true || true
false || false
!Logical NOTtrue && !falsetrue

Increment and Decrement

a = 2
a = 0;


==Equalsx = 1;
x == 1
!=NOT Equalsx = 1;
x != 1
<Less thanx = 1;
x < 2;
>Greater thanx = 1;
x > 0;
<=Less than or equal tox = 1;
x <= 0
>=Greater than or equal tox = 1;
x >= 5


=Assignmentx = 1
+=Incremental Additiona=1;
a += 3;
a = 4;
-=Incremental Decrementa=1;
a -= 3;
a = -2;
*=Multiply bya=2;
a *= 4;
a = 8;
/=Divide bya=8;
a /= 2;
a = 4;
%=Modulus or Remaindera=8;
a %= 3;
a = 2;
&=Logical AND "x &= y" is equivalent to "x = x & y"
|=Logical OR"x |= y" is equivalent to "x = x | y"
<<=Left Shift "x <<= y" is equivalent to "x = x << y"
>>=Right Shift"x >>= y" is equivalent to "x = x >> y"


&Logical ANDif (false & ++i == 1)false
|Logical OR true | false
false | false
^Logical Exclusive XORfalse ^ false
false ^ true
true ^ true
~Bitwise Complement x = ~0x00000000x = 0xffffffff
<<Left Shift1 << 12
>>Right Shift-1000 >> 3-125
??Default Valueint y = x ?? -1;if x = null y = -1 else y = x
:?Conditional Operatorcondition ? expression if true : expression if false

C# Operator Overloading

In C#, operators can be overloaded as well as methods, a technique that allows custom data types to be manipulated in the same way as a normal data type.

Let's say you create a bank account class, for simplicity it will only contain a balance and holder name.

public class bankAccount
  decimal balance;
  string holdersName;
public class Program
  static void Main()
    bankAccount testAccount1 = new bankAccount();
    bankAccount testAccount2 = new bankAccount();
    testAccount1.balance = 10.0;
    testAccount1.holdersName = "Bob Smith";
    testAccount2.balance = 20.0;
    testAccount2.holdersName = "Jane Doe";

If you wanted to add testAccount2 to testAccount1 you may be tempted to try:

testAccount1 = testAccount1 + testAccount2

or even

testAccount1 += testAccount2

You will find that the compiler will not let you add these together as it does not know how to handle the operators for this custom type. We can tell the C# compiler how to add two bank accounts together by overloading the operators.

public class bankAccount
  public decimal balance;
  public string holdersName;
  public static bankAccount operator +(bankAccount b1, bankAccount b2)
    bankAccount temp = new bankAccount();
    temp.balance = b1.balance + b2.balance;
    temp.holdersName = b1.holdersName + " and " + b2.holdersName;
    return temp;

This will allow the use of the + operator on the bankAccount class. It will return a bankAccount, which contains the sum of the two balances and the two holders names concatenated.

All the other operators can be overloaded in the same way; all you need to do is provide your own logic within the method.

testAccount1 = testAccount1 + testAccount2;
// testAccount1.ballance = 30
// testAccount1.holdersName = "Bob Smith and Jane Doe"

Obviously, this is not how bank accounts are merged, but it gives an illustration of how operators can be overloaded for custom data types.

Last updated on: Thursday 11th October 2018



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Thanks for the handy reference! I saved it to my bookmarks.

Reply to Tim


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