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Posted 15 Oct 2005

Customising the DataGrid pager in ASP.NET

, 15 Oct 2005
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Making the pager in a DataGrid more useful by adding additional information about the data being displayed.


The built-in DataGrid control in ASP.NET is great for displaying tabular data. This article shows how we can extend this control and modify the pager to display some additional information about the data, such as number of records and number of pages.


The pager in a DataGrid is helpful in allowing users to page through long lists of data. However, with the page numbers aligned to the right, we have a big empty space to the left which can be used more efficiently (See image 1). This article shows how we can insert some additional information about the data into this space - i.e. a text like: Displaying 82 records. Currently on page 2 of 10. We can also apply some optional formatting, removing the page numbers if there is only one page.

Image 1. The default DataGrid control.

The default datagrid with paging

Creating the extended datagrid control

To get started, we create a new class inheriting from the DataGrid. We name this new class DataGridWithImprovedPager.

class DataGridWithImprovedPager: DataGrid
  private bool m_DisplayPageNumbers = true;

  public DataGridWithImprovedPager()

We override the OnItemCreated method, and insert a blank label (and cell) into the pager. We will retrieve this label before the control is rendered and populate it with information about the data being displayed.

protected override void OnItemCreated(DataGridItemEventArgs e)
  switch (e.Item.ItemType)
    case (ListItemType.Pager):

      // Only display paging links if we have more than one page
      m_DisplayPageNumbers = (this.PageCount > 1);

      // Get the table cell holding the page numbers
      TableCell cell = e.Item.Controls[0] as TableCell;

      // Hide the cell if we're not displaying page numbers
      cell.Visible = m_DisplayPageNumbers;
      // Check that we haven't added our numrecords label already
      // For some reason, the Pager item gets hit twice.
      if (cell.FindControl("lblNumRecords") == null)
        // Work out how many columns we needs to substract from our colspan
        int count = (m_DisplayPageNumbers && this.Columns.Count > 1) ?
                     this.Columns.Count - 1 : this.Columns.Count;

        // Extract the Pager 
        TableCell pager = (TableCell) e.Item.Controls[0];

        // Add Cell to Row to Hold Row Count Label 
        TableCell newcell = new TableCell();
        newcell.ColumnSpan = count;
        newcell.HorizontalAlign = HorizontalAlign.Left;
        newcell.Style["border-color"] = pager.Style["border-color"];

        // Add Label Indicating Row Count 
        Label lblNumRecords = new Label();
        lblNumRecords.ID = "lblNumRecords";

        // Create a new column and append it to
        // the list if we have more the one column.
        // Otherwise, just add our label into the existing column
        if (this.Columns.Count > 1)

          // Add Table Cell to Pager 
          e.Item.Controls.AddAt(0, newcell);

          // Subtract from Colspan of Original Pager to Account for New Row 
          pager.ColumnSpan = pager.ColumnSpan - count;
          cell.Controls.AddAt(0, lblNumRecords);


  base.OnItemCreated (e);

The final step is to override the OnPreRender method, and retrieve the label we added previously. We then populate it with the number of items we have in the list, and if we have more than one page, then information about the current page and the total page count is also included.

protected override void OnPreRender(System.EventArgs e)
  Control c1 = this.Controls[0];
  Control c2 = c1.Controls[c1.Controls.Count - 1];
  Label lblNumRecords = c2.FindControl("lblNumRecords") as Label;

  // Populate the message label with the number of records
  lblNumRecords.Text = string.Format("{0} records found.", this.VirtualItemCount);

  // If we have pages of data, then update the message to show paging information
  if (m_DisplayPageNumbers)
    lblNumRecords.Text += string.Format(" Currently on page {0} of {1}.",

  base.OnPreRender (e);

Image 2. Our improved DataGrid control.

Our improved datagrid with paging

Points of Interest

I had some trouble retrieving the total number of items in the list from within the DataGrid, so the VirtualItemCount property must be set manually from within the code when binding data.


This is my first article, and any suggestions or comments would be appreciated! :-)


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


About the Author

Munsifali Rashid
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
Developer with focus on buidling solutions using Microsoft technologies - ASP.NET, C#, SQL Server.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralGood job Pin
KeithPRC15-Oct-05 5:36
memberKeithPRC15-Oct-05 5:36 

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