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Use form as subform

, 21 Jun 2012 CPOL
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Use existing form as a subform


I post this simply trick because I not found nothing with "subform" tag, when I start to design a tabbed windows forms application, I have serious problems to make my application MDI, because I the reports and pop windows hide behind the forms, I make my original design manipulating forms just under a TabControl control, and arrays to determine what windows shows on click tabs, or which tab select based on form selected for menu.

I search solution to my situation but I not found nothing specifical, some day, I found the solution in other forum, searching for another kind of situation.


Basic idea behind of this, is that you can design and save forms as .cs files, showing each of them in the solution explorer, en enclose them in run time in one (or many, who knows) principal form.

Using the code

You must have form that you want enclose in other form, design the form as you want, add any functionality, then, the only thing that you need is add a container control on you main form, there is a code to generate very basic main form: 

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Data;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Text;
using System.Windows.Forms;

namespace MyNameSpace
    public partial class Form1 : Form
        private System.ComponentModel.IContainer components = null;

        /// <summary>
        /// Clean up any resources being used.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="disposing">true if managed resources should be disposed; otherwise, false.</param>
        protected override void Dispose(bool disposing)
            if (disposing && (components != null))

        #region Windows Form Designer generated code

        /// <summary>
        /// Required method for Designer support - do not modify
        /// the contents of this method with the code editor.
        /// </summary>
        private void InitializeComponent()
            this.panel1 = new System.Windows.Forms.Panel();
            // panel1
            this.panel1.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(12, 30);
            this.panel1.Name = "panel1";
            this.panel1.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(523, 309);
            this.panel1.TabIndex = 0;
            // Form1
            this.AutoScaleDimensions = new System.Drawing.SizeF(6F, 13F);
            this.AutoScaleMode = System.Windows.Forms.AutoScaleMode.Font;
            this.ClientSize = new System.Drawing.Size(547, 351);
            this.Name = "Form1";
            this.Text = "Form1";



        private System.Windows.Forms.Panel panel1;

        public Form1()

Add a form as sub form 

Supposing that you have a fully functional form, called frmReportsAndCharts, and you want to enclose that form on a main form, use the next simply code: 

frmReportsAndCharts SubForm = new frmReportsAndCharts();
SubForm.FormBorderStyle = FormBorderStyle.None;
SubForm.TopLevel = false;
SubForm.ShowInTaskbar = false;
SubForm.Dock = DockStyle.Fill;

and you have a sub form! good luck!


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


About the Author

Antonio Lopez R
Software Developer
Mexico Mexico
I'm a cowboy coder,
and I'm proud of that,
If you face a gunslinger
be quick or be dead.
I like punk and heavy metal, I'm a chinese boxing practitioner and amateur sanshou fighter.
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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 1 PinprofessionalBillWoodruff16-Dec-14 23:13 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 [modified] PinmemberAntonio Lopez R30-Dec-14 17:48 
Question limits of this way Pinmemberoula alsheikh16-Dec-14 4:09 
AnswerRe: limits of this way PinmemberAntonio Lopez R30-Dec-14 17:51 
GeneralThis is exactly what I needed! Pinmember_onTy_5-Feb-14 21:08 
QuestionUserControl PinmemberBrad Bruce23-Jun-12 8:21 
AnswerRe: UserControl PinmemberAntonio Lopez R23-Jun-12 20:31 
GeneralRe: UserControl PinmemberBrad Bruce24-Jun-12 9:56 
GeneralMy vote of 5 [modified] PinmemberCarlos190722-Jun-12 1:32 

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