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Passing Data Between Forms

, 16 May 2006 CPOL
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This article is aimed at providing some simple methods for passing data between forms in Windows applications

Sample Image - PassData.jpg

Passing Data Between Forms


Some of you would have faced a scenario where you wanted to pass data from one form to another in WinForms. Honestly, I too had a similar problem (that’s why I am writing this article!).

There are so many methods (How many? I don't know) to pass data between forms in Windows application. In this article, let me take four important (easiest) ways of accomplishing this:

  1. Using constructor
  2. Using objects
  3. Using properties
  4. Using delegates

Let us see all the above methods in detail in the following sections.

For data to be passed between forms using any of the above methods, we need two forms and some controls. Let us start by following the steps given below.

Step 1

Create a new project and select Windows application. This will create a default form as “Form1”. We can use this form for sending data.

Step 2

Add a textbox and a button to the form.

Step 3

Add another Windows Form for receiving the data and to display it. Right click the project and select Add->Add Windows Form. Enter a name or use the default name “Form2.cs” and click ok button.

Step 4

Add a label to the second form to display the text from form1.

The Constructor Approach

This could be the easiest method of all. A method is invoked whenever you instantiate an object. This method is called a constructor. Code a constructor for form2 class with one string parameter. In the constructor, assign the text to the label’s text property. Instantiate form2 class in form1’s button click event handler using the constructor with one string parameter and pass the textbox’s text to the constructor.

Follow the steps given below:

Step 1

Code a constructor for form2 class as below:

public Form2(string strTextBox)

Step 2

Instantiate form2 class in form1’s button click event handler as below:

private void button1_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    Form2 frm=new Form2(textBox1.Text);

The Object Approach

Objects are reference types, and are created on the heap, using the keyword new. Here we are going to pass data using objects. The approach is simple; in form2 we are going to instantiate form1 class.

Then instantiate form2 in the button click event handler of form1. After this we are going to pass form1 object to the form2 using form2’s form1 object. The last step is to invoke the form2 window by calling the form2’s show method.

Follow the below steps:

Step 1

Change the access modifier for textbox in form1 to public:

public class Form1 : System.Windows.Forms.Form
 public System.Windows.Forms.TextBox textBox1;

Step 2

In the button click event-handler, add the following code:

private void btnSend_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    Form2 frm= new Form2();

Step 3

In form2.cs, instantiate form1 class:

public class Form2 : System.Windows.Forms.Form
     private System.Windows.Forms.Label label1;
     public Form1 frm1;

Step 4

In Form2’s Load method, type cast the object (frm1) of form1 to Form1 and access form1’s textbox and assign its text to label’s text.

private void Form2_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e)

The Properties Approach

Properties allow clients to access class state as if they were accessing member fields directly, while actually implementing that access through a class method. In this method, we are going to add one property to each form. In form1 we are going to use one property for retrieving value from the textbox and in form2, one property to set the label’s text property. Then, in form1’s button click event handler, we are going to instantiate form2 and use the form2’s property to set the label’s text.

Follow the below steps:

Step 1

Add a property in form1 to retrieve value from textbox:

public string _textBox1
    get{return textBox1.Text;}

Step 2

Add a property in form2 to set the labels’ text:

public string _textBox

Step 3

In form1’s button click event handler, add the following code:

private void button1_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
     Form2 frm=new Form2();

The Delegates Approach

Technically, a delegate is a reference type used to encapsulate a method with a specific signature and return type. You can encapsulate any matching method in that delegate. Here we are going to create a delegate with some signature and assign a function to the delegate to assign the text from textbox to label.

Follow the below steps:

Step 1

Add a delegate signature to form1 as below:

public delegate void delPassData(TextBox text);

Step 2

In form1’s button click event handler, instantiate form2 class and delegate. Assign a function in form2 to the delegate and call the delegate as below:

private void btnSend_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    Form2 frm= new Form2();
    delPassData del=new delPassData(frm.funData);

Step 3

In form2, add a function to which the delegate should point to. This function will assign textbox’s text to the label:

public void funData(TextBox txtForm1)
    label1.Text = txtForm1.Text;


These four approaches are very simple in implementing data passing between forms. There are also other methods available in accomplishing the same. Source code for the methods I stated above is given at the top for download. It is time for you to put on your thinking cap and find other ways of doing this. Happy coding!!!


  • 16th May, 2006: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Thiagarajan Alagarsamy
Web Developer
India India
Thiagu is living in Bangalore, India. He has started coding when he was 12 years old. His native is Madurai, a historic city in south India. He loves to code in C#. He frequents code project when he is not coding. Thiagu loves reading Dan Brown and Michael Crichton novels. He is very much interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI). To view his blog -

Comments and Discussions

QuestionIts fantastic PinmemberSyed Mustansar29-Dec-14 8:11 
GeneralThanks PinprofessionalAmir Mohammad Nasrollahi26-Aug-13 9:46 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberJulianGyurov21-Feb-13 9:30 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberkishore doni28-Aug-12 23:10 
QuestionI haven't really understood about "delegate", please help me more? PinmemberAndrewpeter17-Aug-12 19:45 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberbechtinger20024-Aug-12 11:59 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberA.J Bosch12-Jul-12 21:45 
QuestionOpening an existing form Pinmembersrilathameka12-Jun-12 19:21 
QuestionIs there a way without always opening a new instance. Pingroupvlad7818-Jun-12 13:09 
GeneralAdvantages and Disadvantages Pinmemberstixoffire26-May-12 23:37 
While the article does declare how to pass from one form to another, it does not give any idea as to which one is better than another and in what instance you might do that. Further it does not delve into simply updating the data passed to a form from another form and letting that be returned to the calling form. Thanks for the article though.
QuestionWhats the significance of having the delegate method than the rest of the other 3 methods ? PinmemberLyricist20-Apr-12 18:44 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembermanoj kumar choubey9-Apr-12 19:31 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberGuyThiebaut11-Feb-12 23:13 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberIrineK16-Dec-11 7:03 
GeneralMy vote of 2 PinmemberMayank Topiwala10-Sep-11 0:50 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberJonathan Nappee31-Aug-11 1:50 
Question6 days i am searching for pass the data between forms Pinmemberdinesh samaria20-Aug-11 2:25 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pinmemberiran_girl12-Jul-11 2:24 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembera1master.moon5-May-11 3:45 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembercharles henington19-Apr-11 13:52 
GeneralMy vote of 3 Pinmembergopinath198923-Dec-10 20:50 
GeneralPassing two or many values PinmemberEdward0924-Nov-10 2:30 
GeneralRe: Passing two or many values PinmemberComfyasabadger5-Jan-11 2:21 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberRockingDownTheHighway9-Nov-10 7:53 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberPritesh Aryan19-Oct-10 21:54 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 PinmemberPritesh Aryan11-Feb-11 2:47 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 PinmemberRaviSant28-Mar-11 23:35 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 PinmemberPritesh Aryan28-Mar-11 23:45 
GeneralVery Helpful Pinmemberdpminusa29-Sep-10 10:47 
GeneralPassing Objects With out Closing or Creating Forms PinmemberCameron1inm2-Jul-10 10:16 
GeneralAbout Multiple Forms in This Project Pinmemberavisal18-Feb-10 7:50 
GeneralRe: About Multiple Forms in This Project Pingroupvlad7818-Jun-12 13:54 
GeneralThanks .. Pinmemberraindeepak4u30-Nov-09 17:39 
Questionsend variable "counter" from form2 to form1 without creating new form! PinmemberMember 40706414-Jun-09 12:17 
AnswerRe: send variable "counter" from form2 to form1 without creating new form! Pinmemberm_qaoud2024-Aug-09 0:08 
Generalpassing arrays Pinmembersrihari_23017-Apr-09 0:36 
GeneralRe: passing arrays PinmemberThiagarajan Alagarsamy17-Apr-09 0:54 
GeneralThanks PinmemberAbdullahMansor4-Jan-09 20:39 
GeneralNice Pinmemberveerabagu30-Nov-08 20:50 
GeneralWell done PinmemberLuigi Cordova28-Apr-08 2:22 
Generalor possibly without the button send feature Pinmemberisammasri27-Sep-07 15:51 
QuestionCan this be done with multiple textbox fields in a form Pinmemberisammasri27-Sep-07 15:49 
GeneralThere is a much easier way of doing this... Pinmemberayayalar1-Aug-07 12:02 
GeneralRe: There is a much easier way of doing this... Pinmembertmom13-Oct-07 10:13 
GeneralNice one ! Pinmembersilveroxc24-May-07 4:17 
GeneralThat was a Nice Work Pinmembervenkat_india8714-Apr-07 2:18 
GeneralLittle Wrong PinmemberMythran7-Dec-06 6:46 
GeneralRe: Little Wrong PinmemberThiagarajan Alagarsamy7-Dec-06 19:34 
Generalnice article but... PinmemberTheCardinal1-Nov-06 1:31 
AnswerRe: nice article but... PinmemberThiagarajan Alagarsamy2-Nov-06 2:12 

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