Get up to 80 % extra points for free! More info:

Lesson 11 - Binary files in C#

Throughout this course, we've already mentioned several ways to store data (or instances if possible) into files. Whether it was the CSV or XML format, we have always technically worked with text files. In today's tutorial, we're going to introduce you to a different way of storing data and talk about its advantages and disadvantages.

Binary files

So far, we always converted data types to strings and saved them to a text file. When we read the data back again, we had to parse it from the string back to the original data type. However, we aren't limited to storing data as text into files. Today, we'll go over storing data into binary files.

As you already know, variables are stored in the computer's RAM memory. Physically, we can imagine the memory as a really long line of "boxes" with either a zero or a one in each box. The individual elements in the boxes are bits. We usually don't work with bits individually but by 8 at a time. Sets of eight bits are known as bytes (1 byte = 8 bits). Each .NET data type occupies a certain number of bytes in memory. For example, int occupies 4 (a total of 32 zeros and ones). It doesn't matter whether there is a value of 0 or a million stored inside, it always has 4 bytes reserved in memory. If we need to store a variable of the int type in a file, we simply


...End of the preview...
Continue further

You will gain knowledge worth hundreds of thousands for a few crowns

You've come here and that's great! We believe that the first lessons showed you something new and useful
Do you want to continue the course? Go to the premium section.

Buy this course

Buy all currently available lessons with exercise submitting and other features for just $10.80
Current account balance $0
By buying this package, you'll have access to all 19 articles (19 lessons) in this course.

This article is licensed: Premium, by buying this article, you agree with the terms of use.

What will you get from us in the next lessons?
  • Unlimited and permanent access to individual lessons.
  • High quality IT knowledge.
  • Skills to help you get your dream and well-paid job.

Article description

Requested article covers this content:

This tutorial introduces you to binary files and the BinaryWriter and BinaryReader classes. We'll learn to read and write instances in binary in C# .NET.

You gain credits by supporting our network. This is done by sending a helpful amount of money to support the site, or by creating content for the network.

Article has been written for you by David Capka
The author is a programmer, who likes web technologies and being the lead/chief article writer at He shares his knowledge with the community and is always looking to improve. He believes that anyone can do what they set their mind to.
Unicorn university David learned IT at the Unicorn University - a prestigious college providing education on IT and economics.