Class Properties

Classes can have properties in addition to fields and methods. Properties allow variables to be protected and validated while keeping them simple to use.

Getters and Setters

Programmers in other languages often write getter and setter methods to protect their data:

public class Shape {
    private int Sides;

    public int GetSides() {
      return Sides;

    public void SetSides(int value) {
       if (value > 2) Sides = value;


In C# we use properties with get and set accessors. These accessors can protect and validate data, but we can use a property just like a variable. For example, if Sides and SideLength were properties of Shape then we would get and set their values just like fields:

public class MainClass{
    public static void Main(){
        Shape shape = new Shape();
        shape.Sides = 3;
        shape.SideLength = 2;
        int perimeter = shape.Sides * shape.SideLength;

[Modifiers (e.g. public or static)] [Type] [Name] { get {...} set {...} }

In the get block we return the value of the property. In the set block we receive the new value. Inside the set block, the special name value represents the new value for the property.

Here is an example of a property named Sides:

private int _sides = 3; // This is the "backing field"
public int Sides { 
  get {
    return _sides;
  set {
    if (value > 2) _sides = value;

In the example above, the property Sides stores its value in a private field _sides. We say the property Sides wraps the field _sides, and we call _sides the backing field.

Calculated Properties

A property is not required to have a set accessor or a backing field. For example, we can use a property to represent a calculated value like this:

public int Area {
   get { return SideLength * SideLength; }

However, a property without a set accessor cannot be assigned a value. For the Area property above, we could write double volume = shape.Area * 5, but we could not write shape.Area = 3.

Default Properties

Sometimes we might want to create a property with minimal get and set accessors:

private string _type;
public string Type {
  get {
    return _type;
  set {
    _type = value;

We can write this more easily with a default property. With default properties we do not have to create our own backing field. We simply write:

public string Type { get; set; }

One use for a default property is to provide read-only data by making the setter private:

public string Type { get; private set; }


Make a class Vehicle with the properties string Type and int NumTires.

When Type is set to String.Empty, print "The vehicle type cannot be empty" and keep the previous value. When NumTires is set to a value less than 1, print "The vehicle must have at least one tire" and keep the previous value.

Copyright © Read our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy