Click here to Skip to main content
15,397,981 members
Articles / Web Development / ASP.NET
Posted 25 Mar 2007


305 bookmarked

Edit Individual GridView Cells in ASP.NET

Rate me:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
4.88/5 (84 votes)
14 Nov 2009CPOL5 min read
Edit individual GridView cells without putting the entire row into edit mode.Examples using the SqlDataSource and ObjectDataSource controls are included.


The ASP.NET GridView allows for a row of data to be edited by setting the EditIndex property of the GridView, placing the entire row in edit mode.

You may not want the entire row in edit mode if you are using DropDownList controls for several columns in the EditItemTemplate. If each DropDownList has many options, then loading them all at once may result in a sluggish page. Also, if your data structure is more like a 2 dimensional array rather than a set of rows, you may want to edit each cell individually.

Here I will demonstrate how to achieve this and also how to deal with Event Validation without disabling it.


This article is based on questions I was asked in relation to one of my previous articles: Clickable and Double Clickable Rows with GridView and DataList Controls in ASP.NET.

To understand the concept of making a GridView row clickable, you may want to read it before proceeding.

Edit Individual GridView Cells

Screenshot - EditGridviewCells1.jpg

The GridView in the demo has an asp:ButtonField control called SingleClick in the first column with its visibility set to false.

This is used to add the click event to the GridView rows.

    <asp:ButtonField Text="SingleClick" CommandName="SingleClick"
                        Visible="False" />

For each of the other columns, there is an item template with a visible Label control and an invisible TextBox, DropdownList or CheckBox control.

For convenience, we will call the Label the "display control" and the TextBox, DropdownList or CheckBox the "edit control".

<asp:TemplateField HeaderText="Task">

        <asp:Label ID="DescriptionLabel" runat="server"
            Text='<%# Eval("Description") %>'></asp:Label>

        <asp:TextBox ID="Description" runat="server"
            Text='<%# Eval("Description") %>' Width="175px"


The idea here is that initially the data is displayed in the display control and when the cell containing the display control is clicked, it's visibility is set to false and the edit control's visibility is set to true. The EditItemTemplate is not used.

Within the RowDataBound event, each cell of the row is looped through and has a click event added.

The cell index is passed in as the event argument parameter so that the cell can be identified when it raises an event.

protected void GridView1_RowDataBound(object sender, GridViewRowEventArgs e)
    if (e.Row.RowType == DataControlRowType.DataRow)
        // Get the LinkButton control in the first cell
        LinkButton _singleClickButton = (LinkButton)e.Row.Cells[0].Controls[0];
        // Get the javascript which is assigned to this LinkButton
        string _jsSingle = ClientScript.GetPostBackClientHyperlink(
            _singleClickButton, "");

        // Add events to each editable cell
        for (int columnIndex = _firstEditCellIndex; columnIndex <
            e.Row.Cells.Count; columnIndex++)
            // Add the column index as the event argument parameter
            string js = _jsSingle.Insert(_jsSingle.Length - 2,
            // Add this javascript to the onclick Attribute of the cell
            e.Row.Cells[columnIndex].Attributes["onclick"] = js;
            // Add a cursor style to the cells
            e.Row.Cells[columnIndex].Attributes["style"] +=

Within the RowCommand event, the command argument and the event argument are retrieved. This gives us the row and column index of the selected cell.

int _rowIndex = int.Parse(e.CommandArgument.ToString());
int _columnIndex = int.Parse(Request.Form["__EVENTARGUMENT"]);

Since the row and column indexes of the selected cell are known, the cell can be set to edit mode by setting the visibility of the display control to false and that of the edit control to true.

The attributes of the selected cell are also cleared to remove the click event.

// Get the display control for the selected cell and make it invisible
Control _displayControl =
_displayControl.Visible = false;
// Get the edit control for the selected cell and make it visible
Control _editControl =
_editControl.Visible = true;
// Clear the attributes from the selected cell to remove the click event

There is also some code to set the focus on the edit control after a postback. If the edit control is a DropDownList, then its SelectedValue is set to the value of the display control, if it is a TextBox then its text is selected so that it is ready for editing and if it is a Checkbox then its checked value is set to that of the display control.

// Set focus on the selected edit control
ClientScript.RegisterStartupScript(GetType(), "SetFocus",
    '" + _editControl.ClientID + "').focus();</script>");
// If the edit control is a dropdownlist set the
// SelectedValue to the value of the display control
if (_editControl is DropDownList && _displayControl is Label)
    ((DropDownList)_editControl).SelectedValue = (
// If the edit control is a textbox then select the text
if (_editControl is TextBox)
   ((TextBox)_editControl).Attributes.Add("onfocus", "");
// If the edit control is a checkbox set the
// Checked value to the value of the display control
if (_editControl is CheckBox && _displayControl is Label)
    (CheckBox)_editControl).Checked = bool.Parse(((Label)_displayControl).Text);

In the demo, a history of the events fired is also written to the page. Within RowUpdating each cell in the row is checked to see if it is in edit mode. If a cell in edit mode is found, then the data update code is called.

In the first demo page, some sample data is held in a DataTable which is stored in session.

// Loop though the columns to find a cell in edit mode
for (int i = 1; i < _gridView.Columns.Count; i++)
    // Get the editing control for the cell
    Control _editControl = _gridView.Rows[e.RowIndex].Cells[i].Controls[3];
    if (_editControl.Visible)
       .... update the data

To ensure that RowUpdating is fired after a cell is edited, it is called in Page_Load. By hitting "Enter" after editing a TextBox or clicking another cell, the page is posted back and the checks are made to ensure any data changes are saved.

if (this.GridView1.SelectedIndex > -1)
    this.GridView1.UpdateRow(this.GridView1.SelectedIndex, false);

Register the Postback or Callback Data for Validation

The custom events created in RowDataBound must be registered with the page.

The ClientScriptManager.RegisterForEventValidation is called by overriding the Render method.

The UniqueID of the row is returned by GridViewRow.UniqueID and the UniqueID of the button can be generated by appending "$ctl00" to the row's UniqueID.

protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter writer)
    foreach (GridViewRow r in GridView1.Rows)
        if (r.RowType == DataControlRowType.DataRow)
            for (int columnIndex = _firstEditCellIndex; columnIndex <
                r.Cells.Count; columnIndex++)
                    r.UniqueID + "$ctl00", columnIndex.ToString());


This will prevent any "Invalid postback or callback argument" errors from being raised.

Other Examples in the Demo Project

Editing Individual GridView Cells Using a SQL Data Source Control

Implementing this technique with a SqlDataSource control requires some modifications to the GridView's RowUpdating event. A SqlDataSource control normally takes the values from the EditItemTemplate to populate the NewValues collection when updating a GridView row.

As the EditItemTemplate is not being used in this scenario, the NewValues collection must be populated programmatically.

e.NewValues.Add(key, value);

There is a simple SQL Server Express database in the App_Data folder for the data.

(Depending on your configuration, you may need to modify the connection string in the web.config).

Editing Individual GridView Cells Using an Object Data Source Control

This example uses the two classes in the App_Code folder:

  • Task.cs - is the Task object
  • TaskDataAccess.cs - manages the Task object

The code behind of the ASPX page is identical to that in the SQL Data Source example.

The ObjectDataSource manages the data through the GetTasks and UpdateTask methods in the TaskDataAccess.cs class.

GridView with Spreadsheet Styling

This example has a GridView which is styled to look like a spreadsheet.

(Although it looks like a spreadsheet, it does not really behave like a spreadsheet, it's still a GridView after all!)

The principle is the same as above although there is some extra code which changes the cell styles when they are clicked, etc.

Screenshot - EditGridviewCells2.jpg

GridView with Spreadsheet Styling Using a SQL Data Source Control

This example is the same as above but with some modifications to the GridView's RowUpdating event to allow it to work with a SqlDataSource control.



If you want to edit data in an ASP.NET GridView one cell at a time, then this technique may be useful.


  • v1.0 - 25th Mar 2007
  • v2.0 - 7th Apr 2007
    • Examples using SqlDataSource and ObjectDataSource added to the demo project
  • v3.0 - 23rd Nov 2007
    • Examples with paging and sorting added to the demo project
    • ASP.NET 3.5 web.config added to demo project
  • v4.0 - 5th Nov 2009
    • Examples with UpdatePanel, Validator Controls, and CheckBox added to the demo project
    • VB.NET examples added to demo project


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


About the Author

Declan Bright
Ireland Ireland
I have been designing and developing business solutions for the aviation and telecommunications industries since 1999. My experience covers a wide range of technologies and I have delivered a variety of web and mobile based solutions.

Comments and Discussions

SuggestionNot Clear Where To Paste the Given Block Of Codes. Pin
Member 134988591-Nov-17 20:02
MemberMember 134988591-Nov-17 20:02 
GeneralRe: Not Clear Where To Paste the Given Block Of Codes. Pin
Declan Bright5-Jan-18 5:55
MemberDeclan Bright5-Jan-18 5:55 
QuestionNice or maybe the best article about editing cells Pin
juaky30-Oct-15 3:59
Memberjuaky30-Oct-15 3:59 
QuestionNot worked when I generate columns dynamically in code behind Pin
Yadav Vinay19-Oct-15 8:49
MemberYadav Vinay19-Oct-15 8:49 
AnswerRe: Not worked when I generate columns dynamically in code behind Pin
juaky30-Oct-15 3:40
Memberjuaky30-Oct-15 3:40 
QuestionUsing with Master Page Pin
Member 1145873112-Aug-15 6:27
MemberMember 1145873112-Aug-15 6:27 
QuestionSlow Performance Issue Pin
Member 195826520-Jan-14 1:46
MemberMember 195826520-Jan-14 1:46 
QuestionTab through edit controls Pin
RavensDave16-Aug-13 4:25
MemberRavensDave16-Aug-13 4:25 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
MohamedKamalPharm12-Jun-13 2:56
MemberMohamedKamalPharm12-Jun-13 2:56 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
BH TAN22-Feb-13 1:45
professionalBH TAN22-Feb-13 1:45 
Questionmultiple data sources Pin
hussyass27-Jul-12 12:09
Memberhussyass27-Jul-12 12:09 
QuestionDeleting a row Pin
Member 81196449-Apr-12 12:58
MemberMember 81196449-Apr-12 12:58 
QuestionRe: Deleting a row Pin
Douglas R. Dexter9-Mar-16 4:49
MemberDouglas R. Dexter9-Mar-16 4:49 
QuestionHandling Tab key Pin
eliaso54-Jan-12 12:04
Membereliaso54-Jan-12 12:04 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
Varun Sareen28-Dec-11 18:19
professionalVarun Sareen28-Dec-11 18:19 
GeneralGetting an Error Pin
eliaso517-Dec-11 18:01
Membereliaso517-Dec-11 18:01 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
RaviRanjanKr13-Nov-11 4:27
professionalRaviRanjanKr13-Nov-11 4:27 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Anurag Gandhi2-Oct-11 20:45
professionalAnurag Gandhi2-Oct-11 20:45 
QuestionNice article Pin
John Felix5-Jul-11 19:28
MemberJohn Felix5-Jul-11 19:28 
GeneralIndex out of range Pin
Gene Lamm4-Jun-11 1:32
MemberGene Lamm4-Jun-11 1:32 
GeneralRe: Index out of range Pin
Dave Vroman3-Mar-14 8:40
professionalDave Vroman3-Mar-14 8:40 
GeneralIndex was out of range Pin
chitmm20-Mar-11 22:04
Memberchitmm20-Mar-11 22:04 
GeneralRe: Index was out of range Pin
Shyam S Singh31-Oct-11 3:35
MemberShyam S Singh31-Oct-11 3:35 
GeneralRe: Index was out of range Pin
Shyam S Singh31-Oct-11 3:36
MemberShyam S Singh31-Oct-11 3:36 
GeneralFor Select,Insert,Update and Delete in GridView without writting C# or Vb Code Pin
vijay_vignesh26-Jan-11 1:20
Membervijay_vignesh26-Jan-11 1:20 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Praise Praise    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.