TimeSpan Examples
This page was last reviewed on Feb 23, 2024.
Dot Net Perls
TimeSpan. This .NET type represents a length of time. We can create or manipulate TimeSpan instances—TimeSpan provides many properties and methods.
TimeSpan is implemented as a struct type. We use its many constructors to specify a new TimeSpan. We can add TimeSpans, or subtract them to get elapsed times.
Convert Milliseconds
Constructor. First we use the TimeSpan instance constructor to create TimeSpan structs. This constructor has several parameters and overloaded versions.
Here We call the TimeSpan constructor with 5 int arguments. The code creates a TimeSpan with 1 day, 2 hours, and 1 minute.
using System; // Use TimeSpan constructor. // ... Use days, hours, minutes, seconds, milliseconds. TimeSpan span = new TimeSpan(1, 2, 1, 0, 0); Console.WriteLine(span);
From methods. The TimeSpan type has several public static methods that start with the word From. These include FromDays, FromHours, FromMinutes, FromSeconds, and FromMilliseconds.
Info These methods convert a number of double type into a TimeSpan struct instance.
Result The TimeSpan result will allow you to use the figure in a more natural way in C# programs and other methods.
Tip It is useful to pass a number that has a decimal place to the From methods.
Convert TimeSpan, Long
using System; // Get time spans from a specific double unit of time. // ... These allow easier manipulation of the time. TimeSpan span1 = TimeSpan.FromDays(1); TimeSpan span2 = TimeSpan.FromHours(1); TimeSpan span3 = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1); TimeSpan span4 = TimeSpan.FromSeconds(1); TimeSpan span5 = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(1); Console.WriteLine(span1); Console.WriteLine(span2); Console.WriteLine(span3); Console.WriteLine(span4); Console.WriteLine(span5);
1.00:00:00 01:00:00 00:01:00 00:00:01 00:00:00.0010000
Add. Here we use the Add instance method. The TimeSpan.Add method receives one parameter of type TimeSpan. When we add one minute to two minutes, we get three minutes.
Tip Structs such as TimeSpan are immutable and you can assign the result of the Add method to another TimeSpan variable.
using System; // Adds a TimeSpan of one minute to a TimeSpan of two minutes. // ... Then we get three minutes in a TimeSpan. TimeSpan span1 = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1); TimeSpan span2 = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(2); TimeSpan span3 = span1.Add(span2); Console.WriteLine(span3);
Subtract. This method receives one TimeSpan. The argument is the TimeSpan you want to subtract. Typically, you will subtract the smaller TimeSpan from the larger TimeSpan.
Next This program shows that when you subtract one second from one minute, you receive 59 seconds.
using System; // Subtract TimeSpan of one second from one minute. // ... The result is 59 seconds. TimeSpan span1 = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1); TimeSpan span2 = TimeSpan.FromSeconds(1); TimeSpan span3 = span1.Subtract(span2); Console.WriteLine(span3);
MaxValue, MinValue. We see the value returned when you access the MaxValue and MinValue fields, which are public static readonly fields.
Note The MaxValue is equal to over ten million days. The MinValue is equal to negative ten million days.
using System; // Write the maximum, minimum and zero values for TimeSpan. Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.MaxValue); Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.MinValue); Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.Zero);
10675199.02:48:05.4775807 -10675199.02:48:05.4775808 00:00:00
TicksPer constants. We look at the values of the TicksPerDay, TicksPerHour, TicksPerMinute, TicksPerSecond, and TicksPerMillisecond constants.
Note These are constants and can be accessed with the composite name of the TimeSpan type.
Tip The constants show how many ticks occur in each of these normal time units. There are 10,000 ticks in one millisecond.
using System; // Write the values for these Ticks Per constants. Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.TicksPerDay); Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.TicksPerHour); Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.TicksPerMinute); Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.TicksPerSecond); Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.TicksPerMillisecond);
864000000000 36000000000 600000000 10000000 10000
Duration. You can use this static method on the TimeSpan type. This method takes the TimeSpan instance and converts it to the absolute value of itself.
Tip If you have a negative TimeSpan, this method will make the TimeSpan positive.
using System; // Use the TimeSpan Duration method. // ... This converts negative TimeSpans into positive TimeSpans. // ... Same as absolute value of the time. TimeSpan span = new TimeSpan(-1, -1, -1); TimeSpan duration = span.Duration(); Console.WriteLine(duration);
Hours, TotalHours. Here we demonstrate the difference between the Hours instance property on TimeSpan, and the TotalHours instance property.
Also This concept applies to other properties such as Seconds and TotalSeconds, and Days and TotalDays.
Note The Hours property returns the component of the TimeSpan that indicates hours. This is only a part of the entire time represented.
Note 2 The TotalHours property returns the entire time represented converted to a value represented in hours.
using System; // Shows the TimeSpan constructor, Hours and TotalHours. // ... Hours is only a part of the time. // ... TotalHours converts the entire time to hours. TimeSpan span = new TimeSpan(0, 500, 0, 0, 0); Console.WriteLine(span.Hours); Console.WriteLine(span.TotalHours);
20 500
Zero. The TimeSpan.Zero field is a public static field and it provides the exact representation of no time. This is useful because we cannot set a TimeSpan to zero in any other way.
using System; // Demonstrate TimeSpan zero. TimeSpan span = TimeSpan.Zero; Console.WriteLine(span); Console.WriteLine(span.TotalMilliseconds);
00:00:00 0
Zero, internals. When you access the TimeSpan.Zero field, the "load static field" instruction is executed. This pushes the value onto the evaluation stack.
Note Internally, the TimeSpan.Zero field is initialized in a static constructor in the TimeSpan type.
Tip It uses the TimeSpan constructor where the argument is a long value of ticks. The argument 0L is used. This is zero in long format.
Also In the TimeSpan(long) constructor, the field of name "_ticks" is assigned to the parameter. TimeSpan.Zero equals "new TimeSpan(0)".
static TimeSpan() { Zero = new TimeSpan(0L); MaxValue = new TimeSpan(9223372036854775807L); MinValue = new TimeSpan(-9223372036854775808L); }
Parse, TryParse. These methods are useful when reading in TimeSpans that may have been persisted as strings to files. The Parse and TryParse methods have similar internal logic.
But TryParse is safer and faster for when you may encounter errors in the data, and it is usually better to use for this case.
Start This program parses an entirely valid time span string. It specifies a span with zero hours, zero minutes, and one second.
Then The program uses TryParse on an invalid time span string. This causes no exception to be thrown.
using System; // Use TimeSpan.Parse method to parse in span string. // ... Write it to the console. TimeSpan span = TimeSpan.Parse("0:00:01"); Console.WriteLine(span); // Use TimeSpan.TryParse to try to parse an invalid span. // ... The result is TimeSpan.Zero. TimeSpan span2; TimeSpan.TryParse("X:00:01", out span2); Console.WriteLine(span2);
00:00:01 00:00:00
Format string. A TimeSpan can be formatted to a string with a format string. We can use codes like hh, mm and ss. We often must escape the ":" chars.
Here We create a TimeSpan of 3 hours, 30 minutes. We format it with an hours: minutes: seconds format.
using System; // Represents three hours and thirty minutes. TimeSpan threeHours = new TimeSpan(3, 30, 0); // Write hours, minutes and seconds. Console.WriteLine("{0:hh\\:mm\\:ss}", threeHours);
Benchmark, TimeSpan. Usually TimeSpan instances are not a performance concern. But for completeness, we test 3 different ways of acquiring TimeSpan instances.
Version 1 In this version of the code we create a new TimeSpan with its FromHours method.
Version 2 Here we use the TimeSpan constructor with 3 arguments to create a new TimeSpan instance.
Version 3 This code does not create a new TimeSpan but assumes a cached TimeSpan is available and references that.
Result In .NET 7 (2023) the code that uses TimeSpan.FromHours has been optimized to be closer in performance to the other 2 versions.
using System; using System.Diagnostics; const int m = 100000000; Stopwatch s1 = Stopwatch.StartNew(); // Version 1: use FromHours. for (int i = 0; i < m; i++) { TimeSpan span = TimeSpan.FromHours(1); } s1.Stop(); Stopwatch s2 = Stopwatch.StartNew(); // Version 2: use TimeSpan constructor. for (int i = 0; i < m; i++) { TimeSpan span = new TimeSpan(1, 0, 0); } s2.Stop(); Stopwatch s3 = Stopwatch.StartNew(); // Version 3: use cached TimeSpan. TimeSpan cache = new TimeSpan(1, 0, 0); for (int i = 0; i < m; i++) { TimeSpan span = cache; } s3.Stop(); Console.WriteLine("{0},{1},{2}", s1.ElapsedMilliseconds, s2.ElapsedMilliseconds, s3.ElapsedMilliseconds);
TimeSpan.FromHours(1): 45 ms new TimeSpan(1, 0, 0): 33 ms Cache: 33 ms
Sleep. The Sleep() method can be called with a TimeSpan argument. To sleep for 3 seconds, we can use TimeSpan.FromSeconds with an argument of 3.
Summary. TimeSpan, which represents time periods, has many aspects. This struct type is a useful representation of periods of time in your programs.
Dot Net Perls is a collection of tested code examples. Pages are continually updated to stay current, with code correctness a top priority.
Sam Allen is passionate about computer languages. In the past, his work has been recommended by Apple and Microsoft and he has studied computers at a selective university in the United States.
This page was last updated on Feb 23, 2024 (edit link).
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