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Alias any Type with C# 12

With C# 12, you can now alias type, including tuples, array, pointer, and unsafe types.

C# has had the ability to alias namespaces and named types for a long time. It’s useful for avoiding naming conflicts between libaries or for using simpler names for complex generic types. If you’re not familiar with namespace and type aliasing, here is an example:

// Namespace alias
using SuperJSON = System.Text.Json;
var document = SuperJSON.JsonSerializer.Serialize("{}");
// Type alias
using SuperJSON = System.Text.Json.JsonSerializer;
var document = SuperJSON.Serialize("{}");

permalinkNew Aliasable Types

With the release of C# 12, developers are gaining the ability to alias almost all types. Let’s review some of the new options.

permalinkAliasing Tuple Types

Tuples are commonly used as method return types, but when they’re used multiple times, aliasing can help us keep our code cleaner and more legible.

using Country = (string Abbreviation, string Name, double GDPPerCapita);
Country GetCountry(string abbreviation)
// Logic here
return ("US", "United States of America", 63529);
List<Country> GetCountries()
// Logic here
return [("US", "United States of America", 63529)];

permalinkAliasing Types with Pointers

Most of time, C# developers don’t need access to pointers, but now you can alias them when you do.

using bytePtr = byte*;
unsafe void MyMethod()
int x = 1024;
bytePtr ptr = (byte*)&x;
Console.Write("The 4 bytes of the integer:");
for (int i = 0 ; i < sizeof(int) ; ++i)
Console.Write(" {0:X2}", *ptr);
Console.WriteLine("The value of the integer: {0}", x);

permalinkAliasing Array Types

Aliased array types are another addition in C# 12, which should make your declarations cleaner and more legible for teams.

using Companies = System.Collections.Generic.List<Company>;
Companies GetCompanies()
return [
new Company() { Id = 1, Name = "Acme Co."}
class Company
public string Name;
public int Id;

permalinkAliasing Nullable Types

Most types are available for aliasing in C# 12, including nullable value types. However, nullable reference types aren’t available for aliasing.


Expanded capabilities for aliasing in C# 12 has the potential to make your code cleaner and more readable for your teams.