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Visual Studio 2005 ToolBox Clone

, 3 May 2008 CPOL
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A simple clone of the Visual Studio 2005 toolbox using a standard treeview


This control is a very simple Visual Studio ToolBox control clone. The control itself is just a owner drawn TreeView. Because it is based on a standard treeview, it supports only one style of the Visual Studio Toolbox - the list style.


Many weeks ago, I needed a simple control that looks like the ToolBox in Visual Studio 2005. There're some controls on CodeProject doing stuff like this. But all these controls are too oversized for me. So I wrote my own one...

To create the look and feel of the toolbox, I have just overridden the OnDrawNode method. Depending on the node level, the OnDrawNode method will call the method for root items or sub items. As you can see, there're only two levels possible in this control. An item on level 0 will be a root item and drawn as the darker header items. All subitems (level > 0) will be drawn on level 1 as sub item.

Adding advanced tool tips to the toolbox was a little tricky, because the standard treeview does not support such tool tips. First I had to disable the standard tool tip functionality of the treeview like this:

private const int TVS_NOTOOLTIPS = 0x80;

/// <summary>
/// Disables the tooltip activity for the treenodes.
/// </summary>
protected override CreateParams CreateParams
    CreateParams p = base.CreateParams;
    p.Style = p.Style | TVS_NOTOOLTIPS;
    return p;

After that, I have implemented a tool tip control which supports the advanced look and feel of the modern tool tips (also used in the original Visual Studio ToolBox).

Using the Code

The handling of this control is quite easy. If you have ever worked with the .NET TreeView control, you should not have any problems with it. But you have to set some properties at this time to let the control look like the Visual Studio ToolBox:

  • Set the DrawMode to OwnerDrawAll
  • Set the FullRowSelect to true
  • Set the HideSelection to false
  • Set the HotTracking to true
  • Set the ItemHeight to 20
  • Add an ImageList

Adding New Groups

// To support the custom tool tips, we
// have to add an enhanced node type to the toolbox.
ToolBox.VSTreeNode newGroup = new ToolBox.VSTreeNode();

newGroup.Text = String.Format("Sample Node {0}", toolBox1.Nodes.Count + 1);


Adding New Items to a Group

ToolBox.VSTreeNode newSubItem = new ToolBox.VSTreeNode();

newSubItem.Text =  String.Format("Sample SubItem {0}",
        toolBox1.SelectedNode.Nodes.Count + 1);

// Assuming, that a image list is set.
newSubItem.ImageIndex     = 0;
newSubItem.ToolTipCaption = "Look atg this!";
newSubItem.ToolTipText    = "This is an example ToolTip.";

// It's also possible to add a context menu to a node (root or subitem)
newSubItem.ContextMenuStrip = cmsExample;

// Add the new subitem to the toolbox.



  • Fixed bug with editing textbox which was displayed over the left blue border in edit mode
  • Fixed bug with wrong behaviour by clicking on the +/- of a group item
  • Added feature to display an item as disabled


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


About the Author

Software Developer
Germany Germany
Nothing to say about me..

Comments and Discussions

GeneralNice control - but you might want to make a couple small changes PinmemberPRMan!!!8-Feb-10 13:52 
GeneralRe: Nice control - but you might want to make a couple small changes PinmemberPopangler9-Feb-10 6:25 
QuestionTreeview control with varying item height, Pinmemberprakash Invent1-Jul-09 1:36 
AnswerRe: Treeview control with varying item height, PinmemberPopangler9-Feb-10 6:26 Pinmembereallenpjcc21-Jun-09 18:32 
QuestionHow do i connect the attribute and data of the sql database to tree PinmemberMillaniaSnow3-Jun-09 1:50 
GeneralToolbox at design time in VS2008 PinmemberAngelo DeFusco21-Mar-09 7:33 
AnswerRe: Toolbox at design time in VS2008 PinmemberPopangler22-Mar-09 2:48 
Generalexpanding with reluctance... PinmemberPetru6616-Oct-08 5:44 
GeneralPlease Column more more more PinmemberXess15-Jul-08 3:49 
GeneralMake a group bigger Pinmembercakirhal26-Jun-08 20:20 
GeneralRe: Make a group bigger PinmemberPopangler2-Nov-08 2:06 
QuestionCan i display a full Tree under each group member? Please help Pinmembershagunk6514-Feb-08 4:32 
GeneralRe: Can i display a full Tree under each group member? Please help PinmemberPopangler14-Feb-08 21:40 
GeneralRe: Can i display a full Tree under each group member? Please help Pinmembershagunk6515-Feb-08 9:06 
AnswerRe: Can i display a full Tree under each group member? Please help PinmemberPopangler16-Feb-08 2:02 
GeneralRe: Can i display a full Tree under each group member? Please help Pinmembershagunk6517-Feb-08 21:00 
GeneralRe: Can i display a full Tree under each group member? Please help Pinmembershagunk6524-Feb-08 18:12 
GeneralVery nice... PinmemberPawJershauge28-Jan-08 21:49 
AnswerRe: Very nice... PinmemberPopangler29-Jan-08 11:31 

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