String Escape Sequences


  • \' — single quote (0x0027)
  • \" — double quote (0x0022)
  • \\ — backslash (0x005C)
  • \0 — null (0x0000)
  • \a — alert (0x0007)
  • \b — backspace (0x0008)
  • \f — form feed (0x000C)
  • \n — new line (0x000A)
  • \r — carriage return (0x000D)
  • \t — horizontal tab (0x0009)
  • \v — vertical tab (0x000B)
  • \u0000 - \uFFFF — Unicode character
  • \x0 - \xFFFF — Unicode character (code with variable length)
  • \U00000000 - \U0010FFFF — Unicode character (for generating surrogates)


String escape sequences are transformed to the corresponding character at compile time. Ordinary strings that happen to contain backwards slashes are not transformed.

For example, the strings notEscaped and notEscaped2 below are not transformed to a newline character, but will stay as two different characters ('\' and 'n').

string escaped = "\n";
string notEscaped = "\\" + "n";
string notEscaped2 = "\\n";

Console.WriteLine(escaped.Length); // 1
Console.WriteLine(notEscaped.Length); // 2            
Console.WriteLine(notEscaped2.Length); // 2

Escaping special symbols in character literals


char apostrophe = '\'';


char oneBackslash = '\\';

Escaping special symbols in string literals


// The filename will be c:\myfile.txt in both cases
string filename = "c:\\myfile.txt";
string filename = @"c:\myfile.txt";

The second example uses a verbatim string literal, which doesn't treat the backslash as an escape character.


string text = "\"Hello World!\", said the quick brown fox.";
string verbatimText = @"""Hello World!"", said the quick brown fox.";

Both variables will contain the same text.

"Hello World!", said the quick brown fox.


Verbatim string literals can contain newlines:

string text = "Hello\r\nWorld!";
string verbatimText = @"Hello

Both variables will contain the same text.

Unicode character escape sequences

string sqrt = "\u221A";      // √
string emoji = "\U0001F601"; // 😁
string text = "\u0022Hello World\u0022"; // "Hello World"
string variableWidth = "\x22Hello World\x22"; // "Hello World"

Unrecognized escape sequences produce compile-time errors

The following examples will not compile:

string s = "\c";
char c = '\c';

Instead, they will produce the error Unrecognized escape sequence at compile time.

Using escape sequences in identifiers

Escape sequences are not restricted to string and char literals.

Suppose you need to override a third-party method:

protected abstract IEnumerable<Texte> ObtenirŒuvres();

and suppose the character Πis not available in the character encoding you use for your C# source files. You are lucky, it is permitted to use escapes of the type \u#### or \U######## in identifiers in the code. So it is legal to write:

protected override IEnumerable<Texte> Obtenir\u0152uvres()
    // ...

and the C# compiler will know Πand \u0152 are the same character.

(However, it might be a good idea to switch to UTF-8 or a similar encoding that can handle all characters.)

C# Language Pedia