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Line Numbering of RichTextBox in .NET 2.0

, 26 Jan 2007 CPOL
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Line numbering of a RichTextBox control using PictureBox control painting.

Sample Image - sample.jpg


This article demonstrates how to add line numbers to a RichTextBox control. This is done by adding a PictureBox control on the left side of the rich text box control. When the appropriate events happen on the Form or on the RichTextBox control, we call a method that paints the line numbers on the PictureBox control. This approach is more accurate and efficient than other approaches I've seen where another textbox control is used for printing the line numbers. The PictureBox will only print the line numbers that are currently visible in the RichTextBox control. During the process of constructing this code sample, I initially based it on the code sample provided in the article: and enhanced it by doing the following:

  1. Replace the Label control for numbering with a PictureBox.
  2. I fixed the scrolling problem with that implementation due to the fact that the RichTextBox uses smooth scrolling (scrolling with the scrollbar scrolls the text in pixels, not in lines). As a result, sometimes the first line may be displayed in half, in which case, the line numbering should address it.

Here is the code for printing the line numbers. Note that we have a RichTextBox control called MyRichTextBox and a PictureBox control called MyPictureBox. The method gets an argument which is the Graphics of the PictureBox control. This is the method DrawRichTextBoxLineNumbers:

Private Sub DrawRichTextBoxLineNumbers(ByRef g As Graphics)
  'Calculate font heigth as the difference in Y coordinate 
  'between line 2 and line 1
  'Note that the RichTextBox text must have at least two lines. 
  '  So the initial Text property of the RichTextBox 
  '  should not be an empty string. It could be something 
  '  like vbcrlf & vbcrlf & vbcrlf 
  With MyRichTextBox
   Dim font_height As Single 
   font_height = .GetPositionFromCharIndex(.GetFirstCharIndexFromLine(2)).Y _
         - .GetPositionFromCharIndex(.GetFirstCharIndexFromLine(1)).Y
   If font_height = 0 Then Exit Sub

   'Get the first line index and location
   Dim first_index As Integer
   Dim first_line As Integer
   Dim first_line_y As Integer
   first_index = .GetCharIndexFromPosition(New _
         Point(0, g.VisibleClipBounds.Y + font_height / 3))
   first_line = .GetLineFromCharIndex(first_index)
   first_line_y = .GetPositionFromCharIndex(first_index).Y

   'Print on the PictureBox the visible line numbers of the RichTextBox
   Dim i As Integer = first_line
   Dim y As Single
   Do While y < g.VisibleClipBounds.Y + g.VisibleClipBounds.Height
    y = first_line_y + 2 + font_height * (i - first_line - 1)
    g.DrawString((i).ToString, .Font, Brushes.DarkBlue, MyPictureBox.Width _
          - g.MeasureString((i).ToString, .Font).Width, y)
    i += 1
   'Debug.WriteLine("Finished: " & firstLine + 1 & " " & i - 1)
  End With
End Sub

This method should be called from the following locations:

  1. Upon RichTextBox's Resize event: DrawRichTextBoxLineNumbers(MyPictureBox.CreateGraphics).
  2. When the VScroll event happens on the RichTextBox: (MyRichTextBox.VScroll).DrawRichTextBoxLineNumbers(MyPictureBox.CreateGraphics).
  3. When the Paint event happens: (MyPictureBox.Paint).DrawRichTextBoxLineNumbers(e.Graphics). Note that it this method, we send e.Graphics and not MyPictureBox.CreateGraphics, as we would like to repaint only the required region within the PictureBox control.

These are the locations from which we need to invoke the line numbering method:

Private Sub r_Resize(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) _
     Handles MyRichTextBox.Resize
End Sub

Private Sub r_VScroll(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) _
        Handles MyRichTextBox.VScroll
End Sub

Private Sub p_Paint(ByVal sender As Object, _
        ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.PaintEventArgs) _
        Handles MyPictureBox.Paint
End Sub

Private Sub Form1_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) _
        Handles MyBase.Load
  MyRichTextBox.Text = vbCrLf & vbCrLf & vbCrLf
End Sub

Other general notes

  1. The code above assumes that the font name and the size of the RichTextBox control is the same for the entire text.
  2. The WordWrap property of the RichTextBox control should be set to False.
  3. I've placed this code in the Form_Load method to assure that the textbox has at least two lines always:
  4. MyRichTextBox.Text = vbCrLf & vbCrLf & vbCrLf
  5. I recommend docking the PictureBox to the left and then calculating the width of the PictureBox based on g.MeasureString("000", MyRichTextBox.Font).Width. The width of the PictureBox should be recalculated, and the PictureBox should be redrawn when the font of the RichTextBox changes.
  6. The PictureBox control may be replaced with a Panel or any other control that exposes the CreateGraphics() method.
  7. The control was designed for RichTextBox controls with WordWrap = False.


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


About the Author

Michael Elly
United States United States
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

General[Message Deleted] Pin
Arkady Lesniara26-Jun-06 4:24
memberArkady Lesniara26-Jun-06 4:24 
GeneralRe: Compile Problem Pin
GuardianStorm26-Jun-06 6:27
memberGuardianStorm26-Jun-06 6:27 
GeneralRe: Compile Problem Pin
micmelly27-Jun-06 6:43
membermicmelly27-Jun-06 6:43 
GeneralRe: Compile Problem Pin
Arkady Lesniara27-Jun-06 6:54
memberArkady Lesniara27-Jun-06 6:54 
Works great, the line font changed and increased with the text box. Very nice.

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