3.4. Output With Console.WriteLine

In the Hello World section, you experimented with displaying text on the screen. Technically, you sent the words to the console, which is a simple window where the user can type commands or view output. We used a print function without explicitly talking about how it works. Let’s fix that now.

We call the print function using the syntax Console.WriteLine(). When the code runs, we want it to tell the computer, Please display what is inside the () on the screen. For us, the words are enough - we want to WRITE (the) LINE of text to the CONSOLE. However, the computer only understands binary or hexadecimal instructions. We need the compiler to change the keywords Console and WriteLine into a format that the machine understands.

3.4.1. Examples

Open the repl.it link in the example below, and note the difference between the outputs:

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Console.WriteLine("Hello, C#.");
Console.WriteLine(2001);
Console.WriteLine("What","do","commas","do?");
Console.WriteLine("What" + "does" + "+" + "do?");
Console.WriteLine("How " + "can" + " you" + "add   " + "spaces?");
Console.WriteLine("LaunchCode was founded in" +  2013);

Observations line by line:

  1. In the line 1, we print some text, which is surrounded by quotes.
  2. In the line 2, we print a number. Note the absence of quote marks.
  3. In line 3, we use four words, separated by commas, all within the same set of parentheses (). When this statement prints, we only see the first word.
  4. The code in line 4 prints all of the words using the +, but where are the spaces?
  5. Line 5 also prints all of the words including the spaces added to each word within the double quotation marks.
  6. Line 6 prints text and a number without a space in between.

3.4.2. Two Special Characters

One final observation for all of the examples above is that each time we use Console.WriteLine, a newline is inserted after the printed content. Think of a newline as the same as hitting the Enter or Return key on your keyboard. The cursor moves to the beginning of the next line.

For the computer, newline is an invisible character that is used to tell the machine to move to the next line. It is possible to use this invisible character with the special representation \n.

Try It

Experiment with the newline character.

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Console.WriteLine("Some Programming Languages:");

Console.WriteLine("C#\nPython\nJavaScript\nJava\nSwift");

In addition to the newline character, there is also a special tab character, \t. Go back to the eight examples above and experiment with using \t and \n.