Matthew Watson Matthew Watson - 11 months ago 52
C# Question

How to use string.Format() to format a hex number surrounded by curly brackets?


uint hex = 0xdeadbeef;

Required output:
string result = "{deadbeef}"

First approach: Explicitly add the
; this works:

result = "{" + string.Format("{0:x}", hex) + "}"; // -> "{deadbeef}"

Output as decimal rather than hex using escaped curly brackets:

result = string.Format("{{{0}}}", hex); // -> "{3735928559}"

Seems promising, now all we need to do is add the
hex specifer as per the first approach above:

result = string.Format("{{{0:x}}}", hex); // -> "{x}"

Oh dear, adding the
has made it output
rather than the
that I wanted.

So my question is: Must I solve this by explicitly adding the
as per the first example, or is there a way to do it using composite formatting and escaping the curly brackets?

Also note that this also affects string interpolation which (after all) is just converted by the compiler into a call to

(This may well be duplicate question, but I have been unable to find a duplicate so far...)


Answer Source

See "Escaping Braces" in - basically your workaround is a solution.

From there:

The way escaped braces are interpreted can lead to unexpected results. For example, consider the format item "{{{0:D}}}", which is intended to display an opening brace, a numeric value formatted as a decimal number, and a closing brace. However, the format item is actually interpreted in the following manner:

1.The first two opening braces ("{{") are escaped and yield one opening brace.
2. The next three characters ("{0:") are interpreted as the start of a format item.
3. The next character ("D") would be interpreted as the Decimal standard numeric format specifier, but the next two escaped braces ("}}") yield a single brace. Because the resulting string ("D}") is not a standard numeric format specifier, the resulting string is interpreted as a custom format string that means display the literal string "D}".
4. The last brace ("}") is interpreted as the end of the format item.
5. The final result that is displayed is the literal string, "{D}". The numeric value that was to be formatted is not displayed.

and as a solution, adjusted to your example:

uint hex = 0xdeadbeef;
string output = string.Format("{0}{1:x}{2}", 
                             "{", hex, "}");