Tutorial :Formatting a negative TimeSpan


I'm doing some math with the Timespans in .Net, and occasionally the sum results in a negative Timespan. When I display the result I am having trouble formatting it to include the negative indicator.

Dim ts as New Timespan(-10,0,0)    ts.ToString()  

This will display "-10:00:00", which is good but I don't want to show the seconds so tried this.


This returns "10:00" and has dropped the "-" from the front which is the crux of the issue. My current solution is this:

If(ts < TimeSpan.Zero, "-", "") & ts.ToString("hh\:mm")  

but I was hoping to accomplish the same by using only the format string.


I've used .Net Reflector on TimeSpan.ToString(...) and it really doesn't look like it supports any form of negative prefix on custom formats - so I think you're out of luck when it comes to getting it to work for you as above. :(


It seems like you're stuck with that code, but if so, this seems like a great time to write an extesion method, that way you can make your code clearer and you don't have to repeat that code in multiple places, so something like:

Module Extensions      <System.Runtime.CompilerServices.Extension()> _      Public Function HoursAndMinutes(ByVal ts As TimeSpan) As String          Return If(ts < TimeSpan.Zero, "-", "") & ts.ToString("hh\:mm")      End Function  End Module  

And then you could just call it as:



I agree with Will. MSDN and Reflector both indicate that you're out of luck. The best you're gonna get is to either use what you have, write your own IFormatProvider, or use one of the standard formats for timespan like "g".


The standard format "c" provides the negative sign, but includes all parts of the timespan.

    Dim ts As New TimeSpan(-10, 1, 2)      Debug.WriteLine(ts.ToString("c"))  


I'm using this fugly code:

if (timeDiff.TotalSeconds < 0)             {                 timeDiff = timeDiff.Negate();                 TimeChangeTb.Text = string.Format("-{0:D2}:{1:D2}:{2:D2}",                 timeDiff.Hours,                 timeDiff.Minutes,                 timeDiff.Seconds);             }             else             {                 TimeChangeTb.Text = string.Format("{0:D2}:{1:D2}:{2:D2}",                 timeDiff.Hours,                 timeDiff.Minutes,                 timeDiff.Seconds);             }  

Hope it helps!


Based on @ho1 answer, I've built an extension method. Might be a little easier to use nowadays.

public static class TimeSpanUtil  {      public static string HoursAndMinutes(this TimeSpan ts)       {          return (ts < TimeSpan.Zero ? "-" : "") + ts.ToString("hh:mm");           }          }  

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