joshcomley joshcomley - 3 months ago 24
C# Question

Quickest way to convert a base 10 number to any base in .NET?

I have and old(ish) C# method I wrote that takes a number and converts it to any base:

string ConvertToBase(int number, char[] baseChars);

It's not all that super speedy and neat. Is there a good, known way of achieving this in .NET?

I'm looking for something that allows me to use any base with an arbitrary string of characters to use.

This only allows bases 16, 10, 8 and 2:

Convert.ToString(1, x);

I want to use this to achieve a massively high base taking advantage of numbers, all lower case and all upper case letters. Like in this thread, but for C# not JavaScript.

Does anyone know of a good and efficient way of doing this in C#?


Convert.ToString can be used to convert a number to its equivalent string representation in a specified base.


string binary = Convert.ToString(5, 2); // convert 5 to its binary representation
Console.WriteLine(binary);              // prints 101

However, as pointed out by the comments, Convert.ToString only supports the following limited - but typically sufficient - set of bases: 2, 8, 10, or 16.

Update (to meet the requirement to convert to any base):

I'm not aware of any method in the BCL which is capable to convert numbers to any base so you would have to write your own small utility function. A simple sample would look like that (note that this surely can be made faster by replacing the string concatenation):

class Program
    static void Main(string[] args)
        // convert to binary
        string binary = IntToString(42, new char[] { '0', '1' });

        // convert to hexadecimal
        string hex = IntToString(42, 
            new char[] { '0', '1', '2', '3', '4', '5', '6', '7', '8', '9',
                         'A', 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E', 'F'});

        // convert to hexavigesimal (base 26, A-Z)
        string hexavigesimal = IntToString(42, 
            Enumerable.Range('A', 26).Select(x => (char)x).ToArray());

        // convert to sexagesimal
        string xx = IntToString(42, 
            new char[] { '0','1','2','3','4','5','6','7','8','9',

    public static string IntToString(int value, char[] baseChars)
        string result = string.Empty;
        int targetBase = baseChars.Length;

            result = baseChars[value % targetBase] + result;
            value = value / targetBase;
        while (value > 0);

        return result;

    /// <summary>
    /// An optimized method using an array as buffer instead of 
    /// string concatenation. This is faster for return values having 
    /// a length > 1.
    /// </summary>
    public static string IntToStringFast(int value, char[] baseChars)
        // 32 is the worst cast buffer size for base 2 and int.MaxValue
        int i = 32;
        char[] buffer = new char[i];
        int targetBase= baseChars.Length;

            buffer[--i] = baseChars[value % targetBase];
            value = value / targetBase;
        while (value > 0);

        char[] result = new char[32 - i];
        Array.Copy(buffer, i, result, 0, 32 - i);

        return new string(result);

Update 2 (Performance Improvement)

Using an array buffer instead of string concatenation to build the result string gives a performance improvement especially on large number (see method IntToStringFast). In the best case (i.e. the longest possible input) this method is roughly three times faster. However, for 1-digit numbers (i.e. 1-digit in the target base), IntToString will be faster.