Console Application

What Does Console Application Mean?

A console application, in the context of C#, is an application that takes input and displays output at a command line console with access to three basic data streams: standard input, standard output and standard error.


A console application facilitates the reading and writing of characters from a console – either individually or as an entire line. It is the simplest form of a C# program and is typically invoked from the Windows command prompt. A console application usually exists in the form of a stand-alone executable file with minimal or no graphical user interface (GUI).

Techopedia Explains Console Application

The program structure of a console application facilitates a sequential execution flow between statements. Designed for the keyboard and display screen, a console application is driven by keyboard and system events generated by network connections and objects.

A console application is primarily designed for the following reasons:

  • To provide a simple user interface for applications requiring little or no user interaction, such as samples for learning C# language features and command-line utility programs.
  • Automated testing, which can reduce automation implementation resources.

Console applications developed in C# have one main entry point (static main method) of execution, which takes an optional array of parameters as its only argument for command-line parameter representation.

The .NET Framework provides library classes to enable rapid console application development with output display capability in different formats. System.Console (a sealed class) is one of the main classes used in the development of console applications.

One console application functionality limitation is that strings returned by console functions using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) code page may not be correctly processed by functions using American National Standards Institute (ANSI) code page. This issue may be resolved by calling the SetFileApisToOEM function to produce OEM character strings, rather than ANSI character strings.


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Margaret Rouse 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 explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…