[c#] How to create a new object instance from a Type

One may not always know the Type of an object at compile-time, but may need to create an instance of the Type.

How do you get a new object instance from a Type?

This question is related to c# .net performance reflection types

The answer is


If you want to use the default constructor then the solution using System.Activator presented earlier is probably the most convenient. However, if the type lacks a default constructor or you have to use a non-default one, then an option is to use reflection or System.ComponentModel.TypeDescriptor. In case of reflection, it is enough to know just the type name (with its namespace).

Example using reflection:

ObjectType instance = 
    (ObjectType)System.Reflection.Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().CreateInstance(
        typeName: objectType.FulName, // string including namespace of the type
        ignoreCase: false,
        bindingAttr: BindingFlags.Default,
        binder: null,  // use default binder
        args: new object[] { args, to, constructor },
        culture: null, // use CultureInfo from current thread
        activationAttributes: null
    );

Example using TypeDescriptor:

ObjectType instance = 
    (ObjectType)System.ComponentModel.TypeDescriptor.CreateInstance(
        provider: null, // use standard type description provider, which uses reflection
        objectType: objectType,
        argTypes: new Type[] { types, of, args },
        args: new object[] { args, to, constructor }
    );

Wouldn't the generic T t = new T(); work?


public AbstractType New
{
    get
    {
        return (AbstractType) Activator.CreateInstance(GetType());
    }
}

I can across this question because I was looking to implement a simple CloneObject method for arbitrary class (with a default constructor)

With generic method you can require that the type implements New().

Public Function CloneObject(Of T As New)(ByVal src As T) As T
    Dim result As T = Nothing
    Dim cloneable = TryCast(src, ICloneable)
    If cloneable IsNot Nothing Then
        result = cloneable.Clone()
    Else
        result = New T
        CopySimpleProperties(src, result, Nothing, "clone")
    End If
    Return result
End Function

With non-generic assume the type has a default constructor and catch an exception if it doesn't.

Public Function CloneObject(ByVal src As Object) As Object
    Dim result As Object = Nothing
    Dim cloneable As ICloneable
    Try
        cloneable = TryCast(src, ICloneable)
        If cloneable IsNot Nothing Then
            result = cloneable.Clone()
        Else
            result = Activator.CreateInstance(src.GetType())
            CopySimpleProperties(src, result, Nothing, "clone")
        End If
    Catch ex As Exception
        Trace.WriteLine("!!! CloneObject(): " & ex.Message)
    End Try
    Return result
End Function

Given this problem the Activator will work when there is a parameterless ctor. If this is a constraint consider using

System.Runtime.Serialization.FormatterServices.GetSafeUninitializedObject()

Compiled expression is best way! (for performance to repeatedly create instance in runtime).

static readonly Func<X> YCreator = Expression.Lambda<Func<X>>(
   Expression.New(typeof(Y).GetConstructor(Type.EmptyTypes))
 ).Compile();

X x = YCreator();

Statistics (2012):

    Iterations: 5000000
    00:00:00.8481762, Activator.CreateInstance(string, string)
    00:00:00.8416930, Activator.CreateInstance(type)
    00:00:06.6236752, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
    00:00:00.1776255, Compiled expression
    00:00:00.0462197, new

Statistics (2015, .net 4.5, x64):

    Iterations: 5000000
    00:00:00.2659981, Activator.CreateInstance(string, string)
    00:00:00.2603770, Activator.CreateInstance(type)
    00:00:00.7478936, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
    00:00:00.0700757, Compiled expression
    00:00:00.0286710, new

Statistics (2015, .net 4.5, x86):

    Iterations: 5000000
    00:00:00.3541501, Activator.CreateInstance(string, string)
    00:00:00.3686861, Activator.CreateInstance(type)
    00:00:00.9492354, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
    00:00:00.0719072, Compiled expression
    00:00:00.0229387, new

Statistics (2017, LINQPad 5.22.02/x64/.NET 4.6):

    Iterations: 5000000
    No args
    00:00:00.3897563, Activator.CreateInstance(string assemblyName, string typeName)
    00:00:00.3500748, Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)
    00:00:01.0100714, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
    00:00:00.1375767, Compiled expression
    00:00:00.1337920, Compiled expression (type)
    00:00:00.0593664, new
    Single arg
    00:00:03.9300630, Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)
    00:00:01.3881770, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
    00:00:00.1425534, Compiled expression
    00:00:00.0717409, new

Statistics (2019, x64/.NET 4.8):

Iterations: 5000000
No args
00:00:00.3287835, Activator.CreateInstance(string assemblyName, string typeName)
00:00:00.3122015, Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)
00:00:00.8035712, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
00:00:00.0692854, Compiled expression
00:00:00.0662223, Compiled expression (type)
00:00:00.0337862, new
Single arg
00:00:03.8081959, Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)
00:00:01.2507642, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
00:00:00.0671756, Compiled expression
00:00:00.0301489, new

Statistics (2019, x64/.NET Core 3.0):

Iterations: 5000000
No args
00:00:00.3226895, Activator.CreateInstance(string assemblyName, string typeName)
00:00:00.2786803, Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)
00:00:00.6183554, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
00:00:00.0483217, Compiled expression
00:00:00.0485119, Compiled expression (type)
00:00:00.0434534, new
Single arg
00:00:03.4389401, Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)
00:00:01.0803609, ConstructorInfo.Invoke
00:00:00.0554756, Compiled expression
00:00:00.0462232, new

Full code:

static X CreateY_New()
{
    return new Y();
}

static X CreateY_New_Arg(int z)
{
    return new Y(z);
}

static X CreateY_CreateInstance()
{
    return (X)Activator.CreateInstance(typeof(Y));
}

static X CreateY_CreateInstance_String()
{
    return (X)Activator.CreateInstance("Program", "Y").Unwrap();
}

static X CreateY_CreateInstance_Arg(int z)
{
    return (X)Activator.CreateInstance(typeof(Y), new object[] { z, });
}

private static readonly System.Reflection.ConstructorInfo YConstructor =
    typeof(Y).GetConstructor(Type.EmptyTypes);
private static readonly object[] Empty = new object[] { };
static X CreateY_Invoke()
{
    return (X)YConstructor.Invoke(Empty);
}

private static readonly System.Reflection.ConstructorInfo YConstructor_Arg =
    typeof(Y).GetConstructor(new[] { typeof(int), });
static X CreateY_Invoke_Arg(int z)
{
    return (X)YConstructor_Arg.Invoke(new object[] { z, });
}

private static readonly Func<X> YCreator = Expression.Lambda<Func<X>>(
   Expression.New(typeof(Y).GetConstructor(Type.EmptyTypes))
).Compile();
static X CreateY_CompiledExpression()
{
    return YCreator();
}

private static readonly Func<X> YCreator_Type = Expression.Lambda<Func<X>>(
   Expression.New(typeof(Y))
).Compile();
static X CreateY_CompiledExpression_Type()
{
    return YCreator_Type();
}

private static readonly ParameterExpression YCreator_Arg_Param = Expression.Parameter(typeof(int), "z");
private static readonly Func<int, X> YCreator_Arg = Expression.Lambda<Func<int, X>>(
   Expression.New(typeof(Y).GetConstructor(new[] { typeof(int), }), new[] { YCreator_Arg_Param, }),
   YCreator_Arg_Param
).Compile();
static X CreateY_CompiledExpression_Arg(int z)
{
    return YCreator_Arg(z);
}

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    const int iterations = 5000000;

    Console.WriteLine("Iterations: {0}", iterations);

    Console.WriteLine("No args");
    foreach (var creatorInfo in new[]
    {
        new {Name = "Activator.CreateInstance(string assemblyName, string typeName)", Creator = (Func<X>)CreateY_CreateInstance},
        new {Name = "Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)", Creator = (Func<X>)CreateY_CreateInstance},
        new {Name = "ConstructorInfo.Invoke", Creator = (Func<X>)CreateY_Invoke},
        new {Name = "Compiled expression", Creator = (Func<X>)CreateY_CompiledExpression},
        new {Name = "Compiled expression (type)", Creator = (Func<X>)CreateY_CompiledExpression_Type},
        new {Name = "new", Creator = (Func<X>)CreateY_New},
    })
    {
        var creator = creatorInfo.Creator;

        var sum = 0;
        for (var i = 0; i < 1000; i++)
            sum += creator().Z;

        var stopwatch = new Stopwatch();
        stopwatch.Start();
        for (var i = 0; i < iterations; ++i)
        {
            var x = creator();
            sum += x.Z;
        }
        stopwatch.Stop();
        Console.WriteLine("{0}, {1}", stopwatch.Elapsed, creatorInfo.Name);
    }

    Console.WriteLine("Single arg");
    foreach (var creatorInfo in new[]
    {
        new {Name = "Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)", Creator = (Func<int, X>)CreateY_CreateInstance_Arg},
        new {Name = "ConstructorInfo.Invoke", Creator = (Func<int, X>)CreateY_Invoke_Arg},
        new {Name = "Compiled expression", Creator = (Func<int, X>)CreateY_CompiledExpression_Arg},
        new {Name = "new", Creator = (Func<int, X>)CreateY_New_Arg},
    })
    {
        var creator = creatorInfo.Creator;

        var sum = 0;
        for (var i = 0; i < 1000; i++)
            sum += creator(i).Z;

        var stopwatch = new Stopwatch();
        stopwatch.Start();
        for (var i = 0; i < iterations; ++i)
        {
            var x = creator(i);
            sum += x.Z;
        }
        stopwatch.Stop();
        Console.WriteLine("{0}, {1}", stopwatch.Elapsed, creatorInfo.Name);
    }
}

public class X
{
  public X() { }
  public X(int z) { this.Z = z; }
  public int Z;
}

public class Y : X
{
    public Y() {}
    public Y(int z) : base(z) {}
}

Just as an extra to anyone using the above answers that implement:

ObjectType instance = (ObjectType)Activator.CreateInstance(objectType);

Be careful - if your Constructor isn't "Public" then you will get the following error:

"System.MissingMethodException: 'No parameterless constructor defined for this object."

Your class can be Internal/Friend, or whatever you need but the constructor must be public.


If this is for something that will be called a lot in an application instance, it's a lot faster to compile and cache dynamic code instead of using the activator or ConstructorInfo.Invoke(). Two easy options for dynamic compilation are compiled Linq Expressions or some simple IL opcodes and DynamicMethod. Either way, the difference is huge when you start getting into tight loops or multiple calls.


Its pretty simple. Assume that your classname is Car and the namespace is Vehicles, then pass the parameter as Vehicles.Car which returns object of type Car. Like this you can create any instance of any class dynamically.

public object GetInstance(string strNamesapace)
{         
     Type t = Type.GetType(strNamesapace); 
     return  Activator.CreateInstance(t);         
}

If your Fully Qualified Name(ie, Vehicles.Car in this case) is in another assembly, the Type.GetType will be null. In such cases, you have loop through all assemblies and find the Type. For that you can use the below code

public object GetInstance(string strFullyQualifiedName)
{
     Type type = Type.GetType(strFullyQualifiedName);
     if (type != null)
         return Activator.CreateInstance(type);
     foreach (var asm in AppDomain.CurrentDomain.GetAssemblies())
     {
         type = asm.GetType(strFullyQualifiedName);
         if (type != null)
             return Activator.CreateInstance(type);
     }
     return null;
 }

And you can get the instance by calling the above method.

object objClassInstance = GetInstance("Vehicles.Car");

Without use of Reflection:

private T Create<T>() where T : class, new()
{
    return new T();
}

ObjectType instance = (ObjectType)Activator.CreateInstance(objectType);

The Activator class has a generic variant that makes this a bit easier:

ObjectType instance = Activator.CreateInstance<ObjectType>();

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