How Big Is That File-in English?

Monday Dec 1st 2003 by Karl Moore
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What a human being would call one gigabyte, a computer would call 1073741824 bytes. How do you translate one into the other? Karl shows you how in Visual Basic.

Humans and computers sometimes just don't get along. Take file sizes, for example. What a human being would call one gigabyte, a computer would call 1073741824 bytes. How do you translate one into the other? Pull up a chair.

The following handy function takes a number of bytes and translates it into a readable "human" string. Here's the code:

Public Function ConvertBytes( _
        ByVal Bytes As Long) As String
  ' Converts bytes into a readable 
  '   "1.44 MB", etc. string
  If Bytes >= 1073741824 Then
      Return Format(Bytes / 1024 / 1024 / 1024, "#0.00") _
           & " GB"
  ElseIf Bytes >= 1048576 Then
      Return Format(Bytes / 1024 / 1024, "#0.00") & " MB"
  ElseIf Bytes >= 1024 Then
      Return Format(Bytes / 1024, "#0.00") & " KB"
  ElseIf Bytes > 0 And Bytes < 1024 Then
      Return Fix(Bytes) & " Bytes"
  Else
      Return "0 Bytes"
  End If
End Function

Here's an example of the function in use. Here, the length of my file is 3027676 bytes—and the ConvertBytes function returns "2.89MB". Perfect:

Dim objInfo As New System.IO.FileInfo("c:\myfile.bmp")
MessageBox.Show("File is " & ConvertBytes(objInfo.Length))

Figure: My file size in English—all thanks to this nifty little function!

About the Author

Karl Moore (MCSD, MVP) is an experience author living in Yorkshire, England. He is author of numerous technology books, including the new Ultimate VB .NET and ASP.NET Code Book (ISBN 1-59059-106-2), plus regularly features at industry conferences and on BBC radio. Moore also runs his own creative consultancy, White Cliff Computing Ltd. Visit his official Web site at www.karlmoore.com.

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