While working on a project with an Office 2003 look, I needed a color picker with the exact look and feel of a Windows 2003 application. So, I've created one.
Using the code
The project has three controls that are available for use:
ToolStripColorPicker. The first two controls are
ToolBoxItem controls and therefore using them is as simple as dragging the control from the toolbox to your form. The third control is derived from
ToolStripDropDownButton and will be discussed later in this article. All of these controls have a
Color property to get or set the selected color of the control. Also, they have an event called
SelectedColorChanged that occurs when the selected color of the control changes.
This control holds all of the colors and functionality for color picking. It can be used modeless in the application by this code, where
this is a
Form or any other container:
OfficeColorPicker officeColorPicker = new OfficeColorPicker();
Of course, the better way to open the color picker is as a pop-up, using the other two controls provided.
This control derives from
System.Windows.Forms.ComboBox to show the selected color in the
ComboBox. When clicking on the drop-down arrow, it will open the
OfficeColorPicker control in a pop-up with context menu behavior, i.e. it will close on selection or on loss of focus.
To use this combo box control:
ComboBoxColorPicker comboBoxColorPicker =
This control derives from
System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripDropDownButton in order to allow using the button inside any
xxxStrip control. Examples include
MenuStrip and any other controls that "know" to hold
ToolStripItem. To add
ToolStrip, use the following code:
ToolStrip toolStrip = new ToolStrip();
ToolStripColorPicker toolStripColorPicker =
An easier way of using
ToolStripColorPicker is to employ the design-time support of VS 2005. Just add
ToolStrip or any other
xxxStrip control to the form and use the drop-down list of controls to add
VS 2005 uses some sort of reflection to find the
ToolStripItem available to add, but this subject is beyond the scope of this article.
ToolStripColorPicker has the following properties:
public ToolStripColorPickerDisplayType ButtonDisplayStyle;
public Color Color;
public bool AddColorNameToToolTip;
new public string ToolTipText;
ButtonDisplayStyle property, unlike the
DisplayStyle one, is used in order to specify whether to paint the image, the text and the underline for the button instead of just the image and the text, as in
As mentioned above, all of these controls have the
SelectedColorChanged event. This event occurs when the selected color of the control changes. To use this event:
private void (colorPickerControl_SelectedColorChanged);
(object sender, EventArgs e)
Color newColor = colorPickerControl.Color;
Points of interest
To allow context menu behavior, I've created a
ContextMenuForm class that derives from
System.Windows.Forms.Form. This form may hold any
Control instance and will hide itself when it loses focus. To use this form:
OfficePickers.Util.ContextMenuForm contextMenuForm =
contextMenuForm.Show(this, new Point(0, 0), 100);
You can use this form for any control you wish. To close the form -- i.e. the user selects an option -- use the following code in your control:
Form parentForm = this.FindForm();
if(parentForm != null)
- Add support for XP themes: to do this, you should implement a Theme reader and interact it with the
CustomColors class that holds all the colors.
- Add the automatic color button: just paint another button like the More Colors button and implement the selection for it.
- 8.12.2005 - Version 1.0 of
- 1.8.2007 - Version 1.1 released, including:
- Focus bug fixed.
- When changing Enable to false, the button is painted in grayscale.
- Support for
SplitButton: clicking on the arrow will display the color selection as today, but clicking on the button portion itself will fire
SelectedColorChanged to use for changing the color of the current selected element, like in Office.