How to use enums as bit flags

This took me a few minutes to find, so I thought I’d write it down here. Normally, you can only use an enum to represent one value. But what if you want to use an enum to represent several values? Here’s how you’d do it. First, define an enum – add the "[Flags]" attribute – and give every value a unique binary representation (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, etc)


private enum Colors


    Red = 1,

    Blue = 2,

    Green = 4,

    Yellow = 8


Then, to use this bitmask, you could do code such as this to assign – then test the values:

Colors favoriteColors;

favoriteColors = Colors.Blue | Colors.Red;


if ( (favoriteColors & Colors.Red) == Colors.Red )

    MessageBox.Show("Likes red!");


if ( (favoriteColors & Colors.Blue) == Colors.Blue )

    MessageBox.Show("Likes blue!");


if ( (favoriteColors & Colors.Green) == Colors.Green )

    MessageBox.Show("Likes green!");


if ( (favoriteColors & Colors.Yellow) == Colors.Yellow )

    MessageBox.Show("Likes yellow!");


Posted in General, Uncategorized

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