Checked Operator

What Does Checked Operator Mean?

A checked operator, in C#, is an operator used to enforce overflow checking for integral-type arithmetic operations and conversions at run time. Checked operators are used to detect overflow errors that can occur at run time for arithmetic operations that result in too of a large number for the number of bits allocated to the data type of the result in use.

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Although there are other options for overflow checking, such as compiler switches and execution environment configurations, checked operators provide a programmatic way to achieve the same and ensure that overflow is handled.

Techopedia Explains Checked Operator

The operations that are affected by overflow checking using checked operators are those that use predefined operators, including "++", "–", and binary operators like "+", "-", "/", "*", and explicit numeric conversions from one integral type to another, or from float/double to integral type. The output of the operation will be based on the operands. For expressions that contain only constant values, overflow can be detected by the compiler and displayed as an error. For expressions consisting of one or more than one non-constant value, the overflow will be checked during runtime and an exception (System.OverflowException) will be raised.

In contrast to overflow checking for signed integer arithmetic in C/C++ in which it is "implementation defined", C# has improved the way overflow check is controlled. Checked operator is used to execute C# statements in a checked context such that an exception is raised when an arithmetic overflow occurs. It forces the Common Language Runtime (CLR) to handle stack overflow situations while performing operations on integer types that can result in values outside the bounds of the data type.

A checked operator affects the overflow checking context for operations that are textually specified within parentheses. It does not affect any function invoked as a result of the evaluation of the contained expression.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.