Manipulating numerical data is fundamental to many applications. In some cases, we may need to convert numbers between different bases. This article explores different ways to convert a number between hexadecimal and decimal in C# while offering insights into the methods and scenarios where each shines.

Without further ado, let’s start!

## Different Ways to Convert a Number From Decimal to Hexadecimal

We can use different C# methods and custom implementations to help us achieve our goal of converting a number from decimal to hexadecimal. Let’s have a look at some of them:

### Convert Using ToString()

First, we can use the `ToString()`

method to convert a number from decimal to its hexadecimal equivalent:

`return decimalVal.ToString("X");`

.NET provides many useful standard format specifiers like “C” for currency, “E” for exponential (scientific) notation, “P” for percent, and for our purposes, “X” for hexadecimal. In our example, we call the `ToString()`

overload, which takes a format string parameter. We pass in “X” as the format string, indicating that our desired string format is hexadecimal.

### Use string.Format() for Conversion

Similar to `ToString()`

, we can use `string.Format()`

to convert a number from decimal to hexadecimal in C#. The function works by inserting the value of our integer variables into another string, specifying “X” as the format, to convert it to hexadecimal:

`return string.Format("{0:X}", decimalVal);`

We can also achieve the same result with an interpolated string:

`return $"{decimalVal:X}";`

Now, let’s validate our implementation:

var result = _conversionExamples.DecimalToHexUsingStringFormat(decimalVal); Assert.IsNotNull(result); Assert.IsInstanceOfType(result, typeof(string)); Assert.AreEqual(hexVal, result);

### Convert Decimal to Hexadecimal Using Bitwise Operations

Apart from string formatting, we can use bitwise operations to convert decimal numbers to hexadecimal:

public string DecimalToHexUsingBitwiseMethod(int decimalVal) { const int hexBaseOffset = 'A' - 0xA; var hexStringLength = (BitOperations.Log2((uint) decimalVal) >> 2) + 1; return string.Create(hexStringLength, decimalVal, (span, value) => { for (int i = span.Length - 1; i >= 0; i--) { var digit = (byte) (value & 0xF); span[i] = (char) (digit + (digit < 10 ? '0' : hexBaseOffset)); value >>= 4; } }); }

First, we define a constant for `hexBaseOffset`

as `'A' - 0xA`

(uppercase hex output). Next, we calculate the length of the resulting hexadecimal string based on the equation `length = Floor(Log16(decimalVal)) + 1`

. Our code employs an equivalent calculation using the Base2 logarithm, followed by a right shift twice (equivalent to dividing by 4).

Once we have the length of the resultant hexadecimal string, we use `string.Create()`

it to build the hex string, computing each digit starting at the rightmost position (least significant digit) in the string and working left (most significant digit). For each `char`

we first perform a bitwise AND with `0xF`

to zero all of the bits except the first 4 (one hex character).

Next, we convert it to a hex character using our hex offset. When it is less than 10, we simply add the offset for the char `0`

to our value. When it is greater than 10, we use our `hexBaseOffset`

to compute the appropriate value from between `'A'`

and `'F'`

.

Our final step is to divide the decimal value by 16 (right shift four times)

## How to Convert a Number From Hexadecimal to Decimal

Let’s learn some of the techniques we can use to convert hexadecimal to decimal numbers.

### Convert Using int.Parse()

We can use the `int.Parse()`

method, which works by converting the hexadecimal string to its 32-bit signed integer equivalent:

`return int.Parse(hexVal, System.Globalization.NumberStyles.HexNumber);`

This method will throw exceptions if the input is not a valid hexadecimal string; `TryParse()`

is a good alternative in situations where the validity of the hexadecimal string may be uncertain.

Finally, we can use some tests to verify that our implementation returns valid results:

var result = _conversionExamples.HexToDecimalUsingParse(hexVal); Assert.IsNotNull(result); Assert.IsInstanceOfType(result, typeof(int)); Assert.AreEqual(decimalVal, result);

### Convert.ToInt32() Technique

Besides parsing, we can use the static `Convert.ToInt32()`

method to convert hexadecimal values to their decimal equivalents. The method takes two arguments: the string to convert and the base of the string value:

`return Convert.ToInt32(hexVal, 16);`

**It’s important to note that 2, 8, 10, and 16 are the only valid bases for** `Convert.ToInt32()`

.

The `Convert.ToInt32()`

method can throw `FormatException`

and `OverflowException`

exceptions; therefore, we should always ensure we pass valid hexadecimal strings.

Let’s validate this method using `int.MaxValue`

value:

`7FFFFFFF converted to decimal using Convert.Int32 is 2147483647`

## Performance Analysis

Let’s analyze how long each technique takes to perform the conversion:

| Method | decimalVal | hexVal | Mean | Median | Rank | Gen0 | Allocated | |------------------------------- |----------- |--------- |----------:|----------:|-----:|-------:|----------:| | DecimalToHexUsingBitwiseMethod | 2147483647 | ? | 23.72 ns | 23.58 ns | 1 | 0.0191 | 40 B | | DecimalToHexUsingToString | 2147483647 | ? | 27.92 ns | 27.66 ns | 2 | 0.0191 | 40 B | | DecimalToHexUsingStringFormat | 2147483647 | ? | 116.05 ns | 134.25 ns | 3 | 0.0305 | 64 B | | | | | | | | | | | HexToDecimalUsingParse | ? | 7FFFFFFF | 17.15 ns | 16.98 ns | 1 | - | - | | HexToDecimalUsingConvert | ? | 7FFFFFFF | 26.29 ns | 26.31 ns | 2 | - | - |

We can see that using the bitwise method is the fastest way to convert decimal numbers to their hexadecimal equivalents. However, we prefer the `ToString()`

solution for its simplicity and maintainability. While it is not significantly slower, `ToString()`

, due to its support of a variety of formatting options, has some additional complexity. On the other hand, the `string.Format()`

technique is close to four times as slow as the `ToString()`

technique.

When converting from hexadecimal to decimal numbers, we can see that using `int.Parse()`

is twice as fast as using `Convert.ToInt32()`

. Therefore, we highly recommend using the ToString() and int.Parse() methods due to their performance superiority.

## Conclusion

In this article, we’ve explored various methods for converting numbers between hexadecimal and decimal formats in C#. We’ve covered some key techniques suitable for different scenarios, providing us with options depending on our project requirements. Which techniques have you used before, or do you have other preferred methods? Share your experiences and insights in the comments.