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How to Host a Color Picker Combobox in Windows Forms DataGridView Cells

, 24 Mar 2008 CPOL
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An article on how to add a color picker ComboBox to DataGridView


The .NET Framework provides quite a rich collection of UI controls and components for WinForms development. There is one particular control that has been missing. I am talking about a color-picker control with drop down color selection capabilities, just like the one used within the Visual Studio .NET property browser for editing Color-typed properties.

A color picker control was developed by Palo Mraz and was published in this Website. I wanted to use this control in a DataGridView but I couldn't find any example on how to do it. The only available examples on how to use custom control in DataGridView were to do with textual controls. This custom control involves graphics and not just text. I have decided to publish this article for the benefit of other fellow developers who would like to have a color picker combo box hosted by a DataGridView.


For those of you who want to get some background on the color picker combo box, please refer to "The ColorPicker WinForms Control".

You can get background on how to host custom controls in DataGridView cells here.

Color Picker in DataGridView

The core requirement for my project was to display the same drop down color selector that is used within WinForm’s PropertyGrid control inside a DataGridView.

The DataGridView control provides several properties that you can use to adjust the appearance and basic behavior (look and feel) of its cells, rows, and columns. My requirement was to show the color itself next to a text showing the color’s name.

In order to do that, I had to implement owner drawing for the control and extend its capabilities by creating custom cells, columns, and rows.

ColorPickerColumn Class

This class creates a custom column for hosting a column of color picker cells. It inherits from DataGridViewColumn and overrides the property CellTemplate.

public override DataGridViewCell CellTemplate
        return base.CellTemplate;
        // Ensure that the cell used for the template is a ColorPickerCell.
        if (value != null && 
            throw new InvalidCastException("Must be a ColorPicker");
        base.CellTemplate = value;

ColorPickerCell Class

This class creates a custom cell for hosting the color picker combo box and it inherits from DataGridViewTextBoxCell. In order to draw the content of the cell in the way I wanted, I overrode the paint method.

 protected override void Paint(Graphics graphics,
           Rectangle clipBounds, Rectangle cellBounds, int rowIndex,
           DataGridViewElementStates elementState, object value,
           object formattedValue, string errorText,
           DataGridViewCellStyle cellStyle,
           DataGridViewAdvancedBorderStyle advancedBorderStyle,
           DataGridViewPaintParts paintParts)
    formattedValue = null;
    base.Paint(graphics, clipBounds, cellBounds, rowIndex, 
            elementState, value, formattedValue,
               errorText, cellStyle, advancedBorderStyle, paintParts);

    Rectangle ColorBoxRect = new Rectangle();
    RectangleF TextBoxRect = new RectangleF();
    GetDisplayLayout(cellBounds, ref ColorBoxRect, ref TextBoxRect);

    /// Draw the cell background, if specified.
    if ((paintParts & DataGridViewPaintParts.Background) ==
        SolidBrush cellBackground;
        if (value != null && value.GetType() == typeof(Color))
            cellBackground = new SolidBrush((Color)value);
            cellBackground =  new SolidBrush(cellStyle.BackColor);
        graphics.FillRectangle(cellBackground, ColorBoxRect);
        graphics.DrawRectangle(Pens.Black, ColorBoxRect);
        Color lclcolor=(Color)value;
        graphics.DrawString(lclcolor.Name.ToString(), cellStyle.Font, 
            System.Drawing.Brushes.Black, TextBoxRect);

The other method that I had to override is ParseFormattedValue. When the user picks a custom color from the list, he or she gets a Hex number of this color. There is a slight problem with this number: it doesn't get the 0x prefix added to it. This causes the System.Number.StringToNumber method to generate an exception. The .NET environment tries to convert this string to an integer and fails as without the 0x prefix it cannot be regarded as a Hex number, hence this method adds the prefix when required.

public override object ParseFormattedValue
    object formattedValue, DataGridViewCellStyle cellStyle, 
         System.ComponentModel.TypeConverter formattedValueTypeConverter, 
         System.ComponentModel.TypeConverter valueTypeConverter)
    int result;
    string number = "0x" + formattedValue.ToString();
    if (int.TryParse(formattedValue.ToString(), 
        stem.Globalization.NumberStyles.HexNumber, null, out result))
        //Hex number
        return base.ParseFormattedValue("0x" + formattedValue.ToString(), 
            lStyle, formattedValueTypeConverter, valueTypeConverter);
        return base.ParseFormattedValue(formattedValue, cellStyle, 
            mattedValueTypeConverter, valueTypeConverter);

ColorPickerControl Class

This class creates the custom control to be hosted by the ColorPickerCell. It implements the interface IDataGridViewEditingControl and overrides the OnLeave event of the original ColorPicker control. OnLeave – This event calls NotifyDataGridViewOfValueChange to notify the DataGridView that the contents of the cell have changed.

protected override void OnLeave(EventArgs eventargs)
    // Notify the DataGridView that the contents of the cell
    // have changed.

Using the Code

I created a form named ExampleForm containing a DataGridView control. This grid has two columns: the first is a simple textbox column and the second is the ColorPicker column. In this form, I demonstrate how to load and save the data containing colors and names to and from an XML file named ColorData.xml. The file should be stored in the same folder of the executable.


  • March 25th, 2008: Initial release

About the Author

I live in New Zealand. I've been doing Microsoft Windows development for the past 6 years.


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


About the Author

Software Developer
New Zealand New Zealand
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

Questionwhere are the souce code of DataGridViewCustomColumn ? Pinmemberriccardo6823-Jun-14 1:36 
AnswerRe: where are the souce code of DataGridViewCustomColumn ? Pinmemberriccardo6823-Jun-14 1:42 
Questiona bout the License PinmemberH-M-Kais12-Mar-14 7:43 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberMazen el Senih29-Mar-13 6:35 
QuestionPlease help [modified] Pinmemberopium_2100210025-Feb-10 4:44 
GeneralProject in VB PinmemberPaolippo24-Jan-10 3:54 
GeneralDual monitor problem with popup of colorcombobox Pinmemberjcgsell11-Nov-09 15:57 
GeneralRe: Dual monitor problem with popup of colorcombobox Pinmembersrcarr30-Aug-12 12:16 
GeneralProblem with the splitter leaving a trail in the editing control. [modified] PinmemberMember 33644967-Sep-09 9:10 
Generalsub grid in grid Pinmemberdrorby9-Jul-09 2:59 
GeneralUnable to change color according to the options that i choose. Pinmemberlousyprogrammer25-Mar-09 23:20 
i created a property grid.. and i want to make it work.
example, if i change the color to green, it should change to green.
but i cant change. how sld i do it?
the program should work like visual studio properties grid...
thanks in advance =)
GeneralRe: Unable to change color according to the options that i choose. PinmemberJoe2003320-Apr-09 19:25 
GeneralA nice simple example PinmemberColin Eberhardt17-Nov-08 5:11 
GeneralRe: A nice simple example PinmemberJoe2003319-Nov-08 9:25 
GeneralMy Custom control remains clipped within the Datagridview PinmemberTheCubanP29-Oct-08 4:26 
GeneralActivating the Cell PinmemberAli Rafiee8-Jul-08 7:37 
GeneralRe: Activating the Cell PinmemberJoe200339-Jul-08 14:29 
GeneralRe: Activating the Cell PinmemberAli Rafiee10-Jul-08 6:22 
QuestionCan you make multiple cells remain in edit mode in the DataGridView? [modified] PinmemberDeadHead720-Jun-08 5:09 
AnswerRe: Can you make multiple cells remain in edit mode in the DataGridView? PinmemberJoe200339-Jul-08 14:34 
QuestionVB wanted? Pinmemberdherrmann5-Apr-08 7:22 
AnswerRe: VB wanted? PinmemberJoe200337-Apr-08 11:27 
AnswerRe: VB wanted? PinmemberJoe2003315-Apr-08 14:53 
GeneralValue Not Staying In Control After Leaving Cell Pinmemberxiaolinmantis29-Mar-08 9:13 
GeneralRe: Value Not Staying In Control After Leaving Cell PinmemberJoe2003330-Mar-08 12:06 
GeneralRe: Value Not Staying In Control After Leaving Cell Pinmemberxiaolinmantis1-Apr-08 3:48 
GeneralRe: Value Not Staying In Control After Leaving Cell PinmemberJoe200331-Apr-08 18:28 
GeneralRe: Value Not Staying In Control After Leaving Cell Pinmemberxiaolinmantis2-Apr-08 23:40 
GeneralRe: Value Not Staying In Control After Leaving Cell PinmemberJoe2003315-Apr-08 14:53 
GeneralRe: Value Not Staying In Control After Leaving Cell Pinmemberxiaolinmantis15-Apr-08 22:11 

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