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Posted 5 Jan 2007


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TaskDialog for WinForms

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5 Jan 2007Public Domain2 min read
Using Vista Task Dialog from WinForms - here is some code to do it.


Vista's new TaskDialog API’s are really cool and should see lame message boxes banished from you application. We've already seen some articles on using them from C++ but they are not trivial to use from managed code, so here is some code that makes using all the features of the new Task Dialogs really easy in WinForms.

The code is C# and is StyleCop, FXCop and PreSharp clean. Usability and discoverability were given preference to performance and size, with plenty of comments that should be really useful in Intellisense as you explore what Task Dialogs can do. You don’t have to use anything with a shouted (all capitals) name and all the features of Task Dialog are exposed including the callback and actions you can perform on an active Task Dialog. If you hate the very idea of wrappers and want the raw interop declarations, they are all there too.

Using the code

The main class is TaskDialog. The simplest usage gets you MessageBox behavior:

TaskDialog taskDialog = new TaskDialog();
taskDialog.WindowTitle = "My Application";
taskDialog.MainInstruction = "Do you want to do this?";
taskDialog.CommonButtons = TaskDialogCommonButtons.Yes | TaskDialogCommonButtons.No;
int result = taskDialog.Show();
if (result == (int)DialogResult.Yes)
    // Do it.

TaskDialog with Yes No buttons

From there you can add hyperlinks for help, more structure (adding content, extended info and footer to main instruction), a checkbox for "don’t ask me again", custom button names, etc.:

private void SampleUsageComplex()
    TaskDialog taskDialog = new TaskDialog();
    taskDialog.WindowTitle = "My Application";
    taskDialog.MainInstruction = "Do you want to do this?";

    taskDialog.EnableHyperlinks = true;
    taskDialog.Content = "If you do this there could be all sorts of consequences. " +
        "If you don't there will be other consequences. " +
        "You can <A HREF=\"Learn\">learn more about those consequences </A> or more " +
        "about <A HREF=\"blah\">blah blah blah</A>.";
    taskDialog.Callback = new TaskDialogCallback(this.MyTaskDialogCallback);

    taskDialog.VerificationText = "Don't ask me this ever again.";
    taskDialog.VerificationFlagChecked = false;

    TaskDialogButton doItButton = new TaskDialogButton();
    doItButton.ButtonId = 101;
    doItButton.ButtonText = "Do It";

    TaskDialogButton dontDoItButton = new TaskDialogButton();
    dontDoItButton.ButtonId = 102;
    dontDoItButton.ButtonText = "Don't Do It";

    taskDialog.Buttons = new TaskDialogButton[] { doItButton, dontDoItButton };

    bool dontShowAgain;
    int result = taskDialog.Show(null, out dontShowAgain);
    if (dontShowAgain)
        // Suppress future asks.
    if (result == doItButton.ButtonId)
        // Do it.

private bool MyTaskDialogCallback(
    ActiveTaskDialog taskDialog,
    TaskDialogNotificationArgs args,
    object callbackData)
    if (args.Notification == TaskDialogNotification.HyperlinkClicked)
        if (args.Hyperlink.Equals("Learn", StringComparison.Ordinal))
            // Show a help topic.
        else if (args.Hyperlink.Equals("blah", StringComparison.Ordinal))
            // Show a different help topic.
    return false;

TaskDialog with hyperlink and verify checkbox

To get a better idea of all the things you can do with a TaskDialog download the demo, extract the TaskDialogTest.exe and TaskDialog.dll to the same directory and run TaskDialogTest.exe. You'll get a rather large dialog which, while not beautiful, will let you try out the TaskDialog and perhaps sample what different uses in your application would look like.

TaskDialog with hyperlink and verify checkbox

To make use of TaskDialog in your own solution, download the source and include the following source files in your project and adapt them as you see fit:

  • ActiveTaskDialog.cs
  • TaskDialog.cs
  • TaskDialogNotificationArgs.cs
  • UnsafeNativeMethods.cs

Alternatively you could include the TaskDialog project into you solution.

I look forward to seeing a lot fewer Message Boxes in you applications and I hope this makes it easier. Keep in mind good UI design when you're tempted to use all those features in the one dialog.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under A Public Domain dedication


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Comments and Discussions

QuestionCustom Icon not working Pin
marjaan17-Apr-18 21:03
Membermarjaan17-Apr-18 21:03 
SuggestionUnsafe code is not needed Pin
Dialecticus25-Nov-16 3:11
MemberDialecticus25-Nov-16 3:11 
BugBugFix: EnableButton() and EnableRadioButton() on ActiveTaskDialog Pin
Alex Essilfie19-Nov-15 18:13
MemberAlex Essilfie19-Nov-15 18:13 
BugDoesn't work, error message Pin
Axel Steiner13-Aug-15 2:21
MemberAxel Steiner13-Aug-15 2:21 
AnswerRe: Doesn't work, error message Pin
Alex Essilfie19-Nov-15 15:01
MemberAlex Essilfie19-Nov-15 15:01 
GeneralRe: Doesn't work, error message Pin
Balázs Lengyel2-Nov-17 6:55
MemberBalázs Lengyel2-Nov-17 6:55 
BugStill System.ArgumentException! Pin
Knorx Thieus11-Aug-15 2:29
MemberKnorx Thieus11-Aug-15 2:29 
GeneralVote of 5 Pin
Fatman13CC15-Jun-12 12:51
MemberFatman13CC15-Jun-12 12:51 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
eaviles30-Mar-12 9:06
Membereaviles30-Mar-12 9:06 
QuestionFont Changing... And A Question Pin
Saeed Masoomi7-Dec-11 11:39
MemberSaeed Masoomi7-Dec-11 11:39 
AnswerRe: Font Changing... And A Question Pin
marjaan4-Jun-18 21:21
Membermarjaan4-Jun-18 21:21 
GeneralLicense Pin
user303425-Feb-11 1:31
Memberuser303425-Feb-11 1:31 
GeneralCitrix and expanded info Pin
esteka17-Jul-09 1:57
Memberesteka17-Jul-09 1:57 
QuestionHow change the MainInstruction text Pin
melnac9-Jan-09 12:57
Membermelnac9-Jan-09 12:57 
GeneralIssue in parameter to EnableButton() and EnableRadioButton() when calling from VB.NET Pin
AndrewCushen18-Dec-08 17:58
MemberAndrewCushen18-Dec-08 17:58 
GeneralShield Icon on CommandButton Pin
BYoung@OSIsoft.com13-Mar-08 14:04
MemberBYoung@OSIsoft.com13-Mar-08 14:04 
QuestionLicensing Question Pin
Thorsten Dittmar15-Nov-07 2:52
MemberThorsten Dittmar15-Nov-07 2:52 
GeneralWrapper and Emulator for pre-Vista Pin
Hedley Muscroft12-Nov-07 12:49
MemberHedley Muscroft12-Nov-07 12:49 
QuestionHow to change the Button-Text Pin
Rekire31-Oct-07 14:43
MemberRekire31-Oct-07 14:43 
AnswerRe: How to change the Button-Text Pin
KevinGre31-Oct-07 15:02
MemberKevinGre31-Oct-07 15:02 
Generalerror [modified] Pin
pravin parmar27-Oct-07 5:35
Memberpravin parmar27-Oct-07 5:35 
GeneralThanks for the effort Pin
rykk..15-Feb-07 18:42
Memberrykk..15-Feb-07 18:42 3.0 support for task dialogs, custom Windows XP SP2 support ? Pin
Chris Richner9-Feb-07 1:59
MemberChris Richner9-Feb-07 1:59 
AnswerRe: .net 3.0 support for task dialogs, custom Windows XP SP2 support ? Pin
Jonas Nordlund2-Sep-07 23:42
MemberJonas Nordlund2-Sep-07 23:42 
GeneralRe: .net 3.0 support for task dialogs, custom Windows XP SP2 support ? [modified] Pin
Chris Richner3-Sep-07 7:43
MemberChris Richner3-Sep-07 7:43 

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