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Tabbed MDI Child Forms

, 13 Feb 2007
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An article about browsing MDI child forms on tab page


MDI child forms on tab page like Internet Explorer 7. So easy to use and a little code necessary.

Using the code

First, set isMDIContainer property of the parent form to true. Add a TabControl component to the main form and set the Dock property to Top. Delete all tab pages of TabControl and set the Name property to tabForms and set the Visible property to false.

No any code necessary for child forms. All codes in main forms.

When the MDI Child Form is activated; if child form has a tab page, activate the corresponding tab page else create a tab page for child form and select tab page.

private void Form1_MdiChildActivate(object sender, 
                                    EventArgs e) 
    if (this.ActiveMdiChild == null) 
        tabForms.Visible = false; 
        // If no any child form, hide tabControl 
        this.ActiveMdiChild.WindowState = 
        // Child form always maximized 

        // If child form is new and no has tabPage, 
        // create new tabPage 
        if (this.ActiveMdiChild.Tag == null) 
            // Add a tabPage to tabControl with child 
            // form caption 
            TabPage tp = new TabPage(this.ActiveMdiChild
            tp.Tag = this.ActiveMdiChild; 
            tp.Parent = tabForms; 
            tabForms.SelectedTab = tp;
            this.ActiveMdiChild.Tag = tp; 
            this.ActiveMdiChild.FormClosed += 
                new FormClosedEventHandler(

        if (!tabForms.Visible) tabForms.Visible = true;


When the MDI Child Form is closing, destroy the corresponding tab page. Add the following code to main form.

private void ActiveMdiChild_FormClosed(object sender, 
                                    FormClosedEventArgs e)
    ((sender as Form).Tag as TabPage).Dispose(); 

When a tab page selected, activate its child form

private void tabForms_SelectedIndexChanged(object sender, 
                                           EventArgs e) 
    if ((tabForms.SelectedTab != null) && 
        (tabForms.SelectedTab.Tag != null)) 
        (tabForms.SelectedTab.Tag as Form).Select(); 


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior) Anafen Dershanesi
Turkey Turkey
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionChildforms are not showing any controls within PinmemberSunil TG7-May-14 21:28 
QuestionTabbed MDI Child Forms Pinmemberpujits30-Mar-12 22:00 
QuestionThank alot Pinmemberdinhnq14-Nov-11 12:29 
GeneralThanks PinmemberSid Hatedhillson9-Nov-11 17:19 
GeneralGood job man Pinmemberzarkodolas7-Apr-11 7:04 
GeneralMy vote of 3 PinmemberHamed Almighty23-Aug-10 19:58 
GeneralFix for flicker when changing tabs PinmemberStevekoeniger4-Aug-10 9:59 
GeneralRe: Fix for flicker when changing tabs [modified] PinmemberRolf Kristensen8-Oct-10 21:26 
GeneralRe: Fix for flicker when changing tabs Pinmembermuddu krishna2-Mar-12 2:25 
GeneralRe: thanks Stevekoeniger Pinmembernzzzn128-Mar-15 22:38 
QuestionHello Pinmemberpac398-Dec-08 8:23 
GeneralGood work Pinmemberpeitor11-Jun-08 2:44 
Questionwhy do the some normal size child forms repidly shows and disappaired when I clicked tab pages? PinmemberJason.Han11-Feb-08 19:40 
GeneralProgramatic change of child didn't sync the tabs PinmemberScott S.7-Dec-07 6:03 
GeneralHide control box Pinmemberpowermetal3-Oct-07 9:53 
Questionproblem with the instances PinmemberALKADI4-Jul-07 15:32 
AnswerRe: problem with the instances PinmemberSerdar YILMAZ21-Sep-07 10:39 
GeneralRe: problem with the instances PinmemberALKADI22-Sep-07 12:02 
GeneralRe: problem with the instances PinmemberScott S.7-Dec-07 6:07 
GeneralRe: problem with the instances PinmemberSerdar YILMAZ13-Dec-07 5:48 
GeneralRe: problem with the instances PinmemberScott S.18-Dec-07 3:36 
QuestionRe: problem with the instances PinmemberDSatterlund17-Aug-09 7:55 
GeneralTabbed Mdi Pinmembermuskan815-Jun-07 6:10 
GeneralRe: Tabbed Mdi PinmemberSerdar YILMAZ15-Jun-07 6:44 
GeneralGood Job Pinmemberdavarmanesh12-Jun-07 7:35 

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