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# Formatting Data for Output

So, we know how to initialize literal strings, which is terribly useful; but what about our other data? How do we display an `Int32` or `DateTime` or whatever?

We’ve already met one way of converting any object to a string—the virtual `ToString` method, which Example 10-5 uses.

Example 10-5. Converting numbers to strings with ToString

```int myValue = 45;
string myString = myValue.ToString();

Console.WriteLine(myString);```

This will produce the output you might expect:

`45`

What if we try a `decimal`? Example 10-6 shows this.

Example 10-6. Calling ToString on a decimal

```decimal myValue = 45.65M;
string myString = myValue.ToString();
Console.WriteLine(myString);```

Again, we get the expected output:

`45.65`

OK, what if we have some decimals in something like an accounting ledger, and we want to format them all to line up properly, with a preceding dollar sign?

Well, there’s an overload of `ToString` on each of the numeric types that takes an additional parameter—a format string.

## Standard Numeric Format Strings

In most instances, we’re not dreaming up a brand-new format for our numeric strings; if we were, people probably wouldn’t understand what we meant. Consequently, the framework provides us with a whole bunch of standard numeric format strings, for everyday use. Let’s have a look at them in action.

### Currency

Example 10-7 shows how we format a decimal as a currency value, using an overload of the standard `ToString` method.

Example 10-7. Currency format

`decimal dollarAmount = 123165.4539M; string ...`

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