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Print Preview Control Bar

, 2 May 2006
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A toolbar for controlling print previews.

Print Bar Screenshot


I recently developed an application with quite a few standard reports. The reports all have a set selection criteria, and didn't need filtering, so no front end was necessary - just straight to the report.

I tried the PrintPreviewDialog control, but it doesn't have a way to set the print properties (margins, orientation, printer etc.). I also have a form management component (included in the project) which automatically restores a form to its previous state (window state, position, size). I couldn't use this with a PrintPreviewDialog control.

I, therefore, needed a common method to replicate the PrintPreviewDialog control - but adding in the missing functionality. So the ucPrintBar was born.

Using the code

There is an example form included in the source which should hopefully expand and illustrate these instructions.

The ucPrintBar is an extension of the toolstrip - with all the controls pre-added. To use it on a form, just add it to the form and you should see the toolstrip shown above. You will also need to add a PrintDocument and a ucFormManagement component. The PrintDocument is obvious, but the ucFormManagement component is used to automatically save and restore print properties (this is explained further later).

In the properties of the ucPrintBar, you will need to assign the Document property and the FormManagement property as seen below. The PreviewControl is unassigned at design time because it is assigned dynamically at runtime.

Print Bar usage Screenshot

You will need a class variable for the PreviewControl:

private System.Windows.Forms.PrintPreviewControl preview

For the ucPrintBar, you will need to create a PrintPropertiesChanged event:

this.ucPrintBar1.PrintPropertiesChanged += 
    new printPropertiesChanged(this.ucPrintBar1_PrintPropertiesChanged);

with the following functions:

private void ucPrintBar1_PrintPropertiesChanged()
    //If the the print properties change (orientation, margins etc)
    // we need to re-create the report with the new parameters. 

private void setupReport()
    this.preview = new System.Windows.Forms.PrintPreviewControl();
    this.preview.Document = this.printDocument1;
    this.preview.Dock = System.Windows.Forms.DockStyle.Fill;
    this.preview.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(0, 25);
    this.preview.Name = "preview";
    this.ucPrintBar1.PreviewControl = this.preview;

The setupReport function is also called from the form Load event.

The thing I had most difficulty with was refreshing the print preview after changing the print properties. The obvious things didn't work (calling PreviewControl.Refresh, repainting the screen etc.), so in the end, I resorted to removing the PreviewControl and recreating it in the PrintPropertiesChanged event handler.

There you have it - all you have to do now is create the report itself.

A note on the ucFormManagement component

I like to have my forms open up with the same size and position as when I last used it. It irritates me when I have to resize a form every time I use it (and I know quite a few other people who think the same way).

So, all my applications use my ucFormManagement component. All you have to do is drop the component on a form, and it automatically saves the five form state variables (WindowState, Top, Left, Height, Width) to the registry. When the form is opened, the component restores the last values.

That's the automatic stuff. I also have the ability to manually store the form information if I need to. The component has a SortedList<string, object> for additional non-standard information. I used this extra facility in the ucPrintBar to store the print properties (Left Margin, Right Margin, Top Margin, Bottom Margin, Orientation). If you don't want to store the print properties between uses, just don't assign the FormManagement property of the ucPrintBar. Here's an example of how to add some additional form information:


Here's an example of how to retrieve the additional form information:

if (this.ucFormManagement1.Extras != null)
    if (this.ucFormManagement1.Extras.ContainsKey("LeftMargin"))
        leftMargin = 


  • 2nd May 06: Initial version.


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Comments and Discussions

Generalpage count Pinmemberdenistoto26-Feb-08 21:19 
QuestionPrinting : Page 1 to 5 Pinmemberanishmm13-Nov-07 1:55 work? [modified] PinmemberCristiano F. Moura29-Jun-06 6:29 
AnswerRe: work? PinmemberMikePEQ29-Jun-06 9:21 
Hi Cristiano, thanks for your comment. My apologies if I try to tell you things you already know, but I'm not completely sure what you're asking.
I don't have a specific vb version, but if you compile the c# project and reference the .dll that has been created it should work with vb the same way as any other control off your tool bar.
To add an item to the tool bar:
- Right click & select "Choose Items..."
- Click on "Browse..." and select the .dll that was created when you compiled.
I'm not sure what you mean by "end location" property. Do you mean the "location" property? If this is what you mean, then if you change the "Dock" property you can change the location.
My control is derived from a toolstrip control - and this automatically docks at the top of the screen by default.
Let me know if this doesn't help or if you need any other information.
GeneralGood Article! PinmemberMahesh Sapre6-May-06 3:13 
GeneralRe: Good Article! PinmemberMikePEQ29-Jun-06 9:22 

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