What Is Virtual Data Type in C#?


Heather Bennett

The virtual data type in C# is a keyword that allows a method, property, or event to be overridden in a derived class. It is used in object-oriented programming to implement polymorphism, where different types of objects can be treated as the same type at runtime.

Virtual Methods

In C#, a method can be declared as virtual using the virtual keyword. This means that the method can be overridden by a derived class using the override keyword. Virtual methods provide a way for derived classes to provide their own implementation of a method defined in the base class.


    public virtual returnType MethodName(arguments)
        // Method implementation

Here, public specifies the access modifier, virtual indicates that the method can be overridden, returnType is the type of value returned by the method (if any), and MethodName is the name of the method.

Overriding Virtual Methods

To override a virtual method in a derived class, we use the override keyword. The signature of the overriding method must match exactly with that of the base class virtual method.


    public override returnType MethodName(arguments)
        // Method implementation

In this syntax, public, once again, specifies the access modifier, and override, as expected, indicates that this is an overriding implementation.

Note on Sealed Classes and Methods:

Certain classes and methods in C# are marked as sealed and cannot be overridden. Sealed classes cannot be used as a base class, and sealed methods cannot be overridden in derived classes. This is done to prevent further inheritance or overriding for specific cases where it is not desirable.


The virtual data type in C# allows for the implementation of polymorphism by enabling the overriding of methods, properties, and events in derived classes. By using the virtual and override keywords, developers can create flexible code that can be extended and customized to meet specific requirements.

In summary,

  • Virtual: Used to declare a method, property, or event that can be overridden in a derived class.
  • Override: Used to provide an implementation for a virtual method in a derived class.
  • Sealed: Prevents further inheritance or overriding of a class or method.

C# provides powerful mechanisms like virtual methods to support object-oriented programming principles such as polymorphism and inheritance, enabling developers to build more flexible and maintainable software systems.

I hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of the virtual data type in C#. Happy coding!

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