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Read only ComboBox

, 11 Oct 2004
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How to make ComboBox read only


Surprisingly the MS Visual Studio ComboBox doesn’t have such an important property: ReadOnly. After searching on internet for solving this problem and not finding a relevant resolution I decided to add this important property to a new ComboBox control.

Using the code

Create a new derived class from ComboBox:

public class NewComboBox    : System.Windows.Forms.ComboBox

Declare private variables:

private bool readOnly;
private Color tBackColor;
private Color tForeColor;
private ContextMenu cmnuEmpty;
private ComboBoxStyle dropDownStyle = ComboBoxStyle.DropDown;
private Color readOnlyBackColor = SystemColors.Control;
private Color readOnlyForeColor = SystemColors.WindowText;

Set custom context menu to be display when read only:

public ReadOnlyComboBox()
  cmnuEmpty = new ContextMenu(); //code this menu for your needs

Declare ReadOnly property:

public bool ReadOnly
    return readOnly;
    if(readOnly != value)
      readOnly = value;
        this.ContextMenu = cmnuEmpty;
        base.DropDownStyle = ComboBoxStyle.Simple;
        base.Height = 21;
        this.tBackColor = this.BackColor;
        this.tForeColor = this.ForeColor;
        base.BackColor = this.ReadOnlyBackColor;
        base.ForeColor = this.ReadOnlyForeColor;
        this.ContextMenu = null;
        base.DropDownStyle = dropDownStyle;
        base.BackColor = tBackColor;
        base.ForeColor = tForeColor;

Override OnKeyDown and OnKeyPress events to stop editing when readonly:

protected override void OnKeyDown(KeyEventArgs e)  
  if(this.ReadOnly && (
    e.KeyCode == Keys.Up  || 
    e.KeyCode == Keys.Down  ||
    e.KeyCode == Keys.Delete))
    e.Handled = true;
    base.OnKeyDown (e);

protected override void OnKeyPress(KeyPressEventArgs e) 
        e.Handled = true;
        base.OnKeyPress (e);

Change the DropDownStyle property to reflect property changes only when not ReadOnly:

new public ComboBoxStyle DropDownStyle
    return dropDownStyle;
    if(dropDownStyle != value)
      dropDownStyle = value;
      if(!this.ReadOnly) base.DropDownStyle = value;

Add back/fore color properties to reflect changes in ReadOnly property:

public Color ReadOnlyBackColor
    return readOnlyBackColor;
    readOnlyBackColor = value;
public Color ReadOnlyForeColor
    return readOnlyForeColor;
    readOnlyForeColor = value;


Eliminate the white border that appears inside the client area when enable XP styles and BackColor is not default color.


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.

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About the Author

Software Developer (Senior)
Romania Romania
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMust also disable mouse paste Pin
FinishedOnTime26-Feb-07 4:25
memberFinishedOnTime26-Feb-07 4:25 
QuestionLatest code? Pin
Chuck_Esterbrook27-Dec-06 14:43
memberChuck_Esterbrook27-Dec-06 14:43 
GeneralKeyPress Event Handler Pin
jsteve1712-Dec-06 10:16
memberjsteve1712-Dec-06 10:16 
GeneralVery good. Pin
jotaele31-Oct-06 0:00
memberjotaele31-Oct-06 0:00 
QuestionHow to remove the white border? Pin
sick bastard1-Jan-06 22:59
membersick bastard1-Jan-06 22:59 
GeneralAnother approach for a ReadOnly ComboBox Pin
Claudio Grazioli9-May-05 11:12
memberClaudio Grazioli9-May-05 11:12 
GeneralRe: Another approach for a ReadOnly ComboBox Pin
Chuck_Esterbrook27-Dec-06 13:35
memberChuck_Esterbrook27-Dec-06 13:35 
GeneralToo bad.... Pin
emunews28-Feb-05 3:48
memberemunews28-Feb-05 3:48 
GeneralReadOnlyComboBox in DropDownList Mode Pin
pgolds6-Dec-04 6:21
memberpgolds6-Dec-04 6:21 
I seem to have discovered an issue. Hoping you can help me solve it. In the native ComboBox control, when it is set for 'DropDownList' style and you press a key, it jumps to the first entry with that letter (and then the second, third, fourth, etc.. entry as you keep pressing the same button). However, with this Read Only ComboBox, I seem to be able to type data into the edit part. Is there a way to regain the Native Combobox DropDownList functionality while retaining the Read-Only-ability of this control?

GeneralRe: ReadOnlyComboBox in DropDownList Mode Pin
pgolds6-Dec-04 8:22
memberpgolds6-Dec-04 8:22 
GeneralRe: ReadOnlyComboBox in DropDownList Mode Pin
Dan Anatoli6-Dec-04 20:30
memberDan Anatoli6-Dec-04 20:30 
GeneralRe: ReadOnlyComboBox in DropDownList Mode Pin
pgolds7-Dec-04 5:34
memberpgolds7-Dec-04 5:34 
GeneralOptional solution Pin
omacias20-Nov-04 9:43
memberomacias20-Nov-04 9:43 
GeneralRe: Optional solution Pin
Anonymous21-Nov-04 1:02
sussAnonymous21-Nov-04 1:02 
GeneralThank You. Pin
pgolds19-Nov-04 10:33
memberpgolds19-Nov-04 10:33 
GeneralRefreshing a DropDownList Pin
Paco7612-Nov-04 8:31
memberPaco7612-Nov-04 8:31 
GeneralNice. One little remark. Pin
Boyan Botev19-Oct-04 22:14
memberBoyan Botev19-Oct-04 22:14 
GeneralRMB option cut enabled Pin
asela.gunawardena@ifs.lk5-Oct-04 1:03
memberasela.gunawardena@ifs.lk5-Oct-04 1:03 
GeneralRe: RMB option cut enabled Pin
Dan Anatoli5-Oct-04 20:22
memberDan Anatoli5-Oct-04 20:22 
GeneralRe: RMB option cut enabled Pin
Asela Gunawardena25-Oct-04 0:56
memberAsela Gunawardena25-Oct-04 0:56 
GeneralRe: Re: RMB option cut enabled Pin
Asela Gunawardena25-Oct-04 0:58
memberAsela Gunawardena25-Oct-04 0:58 
QuestionWhy not just change the DropDownStyle Property? Pin
Anonymous30-May-04 8:11
sussAnonymous30-May-04 8:11 
AnswerRe: Why not just change the DropDownStyle Property? Pin
Dan Anatoli30-May-04 19:57
memberDan Anatoli30-May-04 19:57 
GeneralDropDownList can open, but selection can't be changed. Pin
Hanan Nachmany25-Apr-04 2:35
memberHanan Nachmany25-Apr-04 2:35 
GeneralCombobox still recieves F4, PageDown and pageUp Pin
Guemper17-Mar-04 21:11
memberGuemper17-Mar-04 21:11 

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