.NET Tip: Converting Strings to Enum Values

Occasionally, I run across the need to see whether a string holds a valid enumeration value. I prefer to not add comparisons to specific string values when I already have an enumeration with all possible valid values. The solution is to try to convert the string into an enumeration value. If the string does not hold a valid enumeration value, an error will be thrown. If the string does hold a valid enumeration value, you will have a variable with the matching enumeration value that you can work with as needed. First, take a look at the enumeration I'll be using:

public enum DaysOfWeek
   Sunday    = 1,
   Monday    = 2,
   Tuesday   = 3,
   Wednesday = 4,
   Thursday  = 5,
   Friday    = 6,
   Saturday  = 7

It isn't the most interesting enumeration, but it will suffice. Below, I begin with a string holding the value I want to convert. Next, to do the conversion I use the Enum.Parse() method. The Parse() method takes the type of the enumeration you want to convert to as well as the string to convert. If the conversion succeeds, you now can use CurrentDay however you like in your application. If the string cannot be converted to a valid enumeration value, you can catch the error and process it appropriately.

string CurrentDayString = "Sunday";
DaysOfWeek CurrentDay = DaysOfWeek.Monday;
   CurrentDay = (DaysOfWeek)Enum.Parse(typeof(DaysOfWeek),
   // Invalid enumeration value

switch (CurrentDay)
   case DaysOfWeek.Saturday:
   case DaysOfWeek.Sunday:
      // What are you doing working on the weekend

      // Get back to work

The version of Enum.Parse() that I showed in this example is case sensitive. So, if my initial string had been "sunday" instead of "Sunday", it would have thrown an error. There is an overload of Enum.Parse() that accepts an additional boolean value that tells it to ignore case when doing the conversion. Your application will dictate which is most appropriate for you to use.

About the Author

Jay Miller is a Software Engineer with Electronic Tracking Systems, a company dedicated to robbery prevention, apprehension, and recovery based in Carrollton, Texas. Jay has been working with .NET since the release of the first beta and is co-author of Learn Microsoft Visual Basic.Net In a Weekend. Jay can be reached via email at jmiller@sm-ets.com.


  • There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment!

Leave a Comment
  • Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

Top White Papers and Webcasts

  • Moving from an on-premises environment to Office 365 does not remove the need to plan for disruptions or reduce the business risk requirements for protecting email services. If anything, some risks increase with a move to the cloud. Read how to ease the transition every business faces if considering or already migrating to cloud email. This white paper discusses: Setting expectations when migrating to Office 365 Understanding the implications of relying solely on Exchange Online security Necessary archiving …

  • Lenovo recommends Windows 8 Pro. "I dropped my laptop getting out of the taxi." This probably sounds familiar to most IT professionals. If your employees are traveling, you know their devices are in for a rough go. Whether it's a trip to the conference room or a convention out of town, any time equipment leaves a user's desk it is at risk of being put into harm's way. Stay connected at all times, whether at the office or on the go, with agile, durable, and flexible devices like the Lenovo® …

Most Popular Programming Stories

More for Developers

RSS Feeds

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date