using statement (C# Reference)

Provides a convenient syntax that ensures the correct use of IDisposable objects. Beginning in C# 8.0, the using statement ensures the correct use of IAsyncDisposable objects.

Example

The following example shows how to use the using statement.

string manyLines=@"This is line one
This is line two
Here is line three
The penultimate line is line four
This is the final, fifth line.";

using (var reader = new StringReader(manyLines))
{
    string? item;
    do {
        item = reader.ReadLine();
        Console.WriteLine(item);
    } while(item != null);
}

Beginning with C# 8.0, you can use the following alternative syntax for the using statement that doesn't require braces:

string manyLines=@"This is line one
This is line two
Here is line three
The penultimate line is line four
This is the final, fifth line.";

using var reader = new StringReader(manyLines);
string? item;
do {
    item = reader.ReadLine();
    Console.WriteLine(item);
} while(item != null);

Remarks

File and Font are examples of managed types that access unmanaged resources (in this case file handles and device contexts). There are many other kinds of unmanaged resources and class library types that encapsulate them. All such types must implement the IDisposable interface, or the IAsyncDisposable interface.

When the lifetime of an IDisposable object is limited to a single method, you should declare and instantiate it in the using statement. The using statement calls the Dispose method on the object in the correct way, and (when you use it as shown earlier) it also causes the object itself to go out of scope as soon as Dispose is called. Within the using block, the object is read-only and can't be modified or reassigned. If the object implements IAsyncDisposable instead of IDisposable, the using statement calls the DisposeAsync and awaits the returned ValueTask. For more information on IAsyncDisposable, see Implement a DisposeAsync method.

The using statement ensures that Dispose (or DisposeAsync) is called even if an exception occurs within the using block. You can achieve the same result by putting the object inside a try block and then calling Dispose (or DisposeAsync) in a finally block; in fact, this is how the using statement is translated by the compiler. The code example earlier expands to the following code at compile time (note the extra curly braces to create the limited scope for the object):

string manyLines=@"This is line one
This is line two
Here is line three
The penultimate line is line four
This is the final, fifth line.";

{
    var reader = new StringReader(manyLines);
    try {
        string? item;
        do {
            item = reader.ReadLine();
            Console.WriteLine(item);
        } while(item != null);
    } finally
    {
        reader?.Dispose();
    }
}

The newer using statement syntax translates to similar code. The try block opens where the variable is declared. The finally block is added at the close of the enclosing block, typically at the end of a method.

For more information about the try-finally statement, see the try-finally article.

Multiple instances of a type can be declared in a single using statement, as shown in the following example. Notice that you can't use implicitly typed variables (var) when you declare multiple variables in a single statement:

string numbers=@"One
Two
Three
Four.";
string letters=@"A
B
C
D.";

using (StringReader left = new StringReader(numbers),
    right = new StringReader(letters))
{
    string? item;
    do {
        item = left.ReadLine();
        Console.Write(item);
        Console.Write("    ");
        item = right.ReadLine();
        Console.WriteLine(item);
    } while(item != null);
}

You can combine multiple declarations of the same type using the new syntax introduced with C# 8 as well, as shown in the following example:

string numbers=@"One
Two
Three
Four.";
string letters=@"A
B
C
D.";

using StringReader left = new StringReader(numbers),
    right = new StringReader(letters);
string? item;
do {
    item = left.ReadLine();
    Console.Write(item);
    Console.Write("    ");
    item = right.ReadLine();
    Console.WriteLine(item);
} while(item != null);

You can instantiate the resource object and then pass the variable to the using statement, but this isn't a best practice. In this case, after control leaves the using block, the object remains in scope but probably has no access to its unmanaged resources. In other words, it's not fully initialized anymore. If you try to use the object outside the using block, you risk causing an exception to be thrown. For this reason, it's better to instantiate the object in the using statement and limit its scope to the using block.

string manyLines=@"This is line one
This is line two
Here is line three
The penultimate line is line four
This is the final, fifth line.";

var reader = new StringReader(manyLines);
using (reader)
{
    string? item;
    do {
        item = reader.ReadLine();
        Console.WriteLine(item);
    } while(item != null);
}
// reader is in scope here, but has been disposed

For more information about disposing of IDisposable objects, see Using objects that implement IDisposable.

C# language specification

For more information, see The using statement in the C# Language Specification. The language specification is the definitive source for C# syntax and usage.

See also