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Posted 13 Apr 2007


, 27 Nov 2008 CPOL
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Outlook 2007 styled expandable and collapsible panels and panel collections for grouping collections of controls.


The XPander library offers the option to store many user controls in one single document formula. They are optionally visible or non-visible, expanded or collapsed. The controls provide optically the Microsoft Outlook 2007 style with black, silver and blue color schemes. They also provide other styles. The included ToolStripRenderers offer some other opportunities. All the controls support visual designer, smart tag and RightToLeft features. It contains the following components.


The panel is a control that contains other controls. You can use a panel to group collections of controls such as the XPanderPanelList control. On top of the panel, there is the captionbar. This captionbar may contain an image and text. According to its dockstyle and properties, the panel is collapsible and/or closable.





The XPanderPanelList contains XPanderPanels, which are represented by XPanderPanel objects that you can add through the XPanderPanels property. The order of XPanderPanel objects reflects the order in which the xpanderpanels appear in the XPanderPanelList control.



XPanderPanel controls represent the expandable and collapsible panels in XPanderPanelList. The XpanderPanel is a control that contains other controls. You can use an XPanderPanel to group collections of controls such as the XPanderPanelList. The order of xpanderpanels in the XPanderPanelList.XPanderPanels collection reflects the order of xpanderpanels controls. To change the order of tabs in the control, you must change their positions in the collection by removing them and inserting them at new indexes. You can change the xpanderpanel's appearance. For example, to make it appear flat, set the CaptionStyle property to CaptionStyle.Flat.

On top of the XPanderPanel, there is the captionbar. This captionbar may contain an image and text. According to its properties, the panel can be closed.



This represents a splitter control that enables the user to resize docked controls. As different from the System.Windows.Forms.Splitter, the splitter supports a transparent background color.


A splitter can be attached to a panel. If the visibility of the panel changes, the visibility of the splitter changes too.


All the panelcolors and properties are customizable and changeable with the visual designer.



If you want to expand a XPanderPanel in the Visual Designer, please click the captionbar.


When the RightToLeft property value is set to RightToLeft.Yes, the horizontal alignment of the control's elements are reversed.


Using the Code

Right click on the toolbox and choose add/remove items..., there you browse for the BSE.Windows.Forms.dll and press OK. All the controls will be added in the ToolBox under "My User Controls". Set BSE.Windows.Test as StartUp Project.

Using the RightToLeft Feature in the Test Sample

Open the Program.cs file in the BSE.Windows.Test project and remove the following comments:

static void Main()
    //// if you want to use the RightToLeft demo,
    //// please remove these comments
    //CultureInfo currentCulture = new CultureInfo
    // (BSE.Windows.Test.Properties.Settings.Default.Language);
    //Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = currentCulture;
    //Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentUICulture = currentCulture;


    //// if you want to use the RightToLeft demo,
    //// please remove these comments
    //using (CCountrySelectionForm form = new CCountrySelectionForm())

    Application.Run(new Form1());

Select the ar-EG culture name for the Arabic (Egypt) culture:


Class Diagrams



Panel and XPanderPanel


Code Examples

Using the ToolstripProfessionalRenderer and the PanelsettingsManager at runtime:

public class Form2 : Form
	private BSE.Windows.Forms.Panel panel1;
	public Form2()
		// Create and initialize a Panel.
		this.panel1 = new BSE.Windows.Forms.Panel();
		this.panel1.Text = "panel1";
		// Set the panel background.
		this.panel1.ShowTransparentBackground = false;
		// Set the panel's DockStyle to DockStyle.Fill
		this.panel1.Dock = DockStyle.Fill;
		// Add the panel to the form

		// Create and initialize a ToolStripProfessionalRenderer.
		ToolStripProfessionalRenderer renderer = 
			new BSE.Windows.Forms.Office2007Renderer();
		// Add it to the ToolStripManager.Renderer
		ToolStripManager.Renderer = renderer;

		// Get the ProfessionalColorTable colorTable for the current renderer.
		BSE.Windows.Forms.ProfessionalColorTable colorTable = 
		    renderer.ColorTable as BSE.Windows.Forms.ProfessionalColorTable;
		if (colorTable != null)
			// Get the PanelColors panelColorTable for the 
			// current  colortable.
			BSE.Windows.Forms.PanelColors panelColorTable = 
			if (panelColorTable != null)
				// Set the panel properties for the form 
				// controls collection
				SetPanelProperties(this.Controls, panelColorTable);

Adaption of the Panel Colors

Create a colortable that derives from BSE.Windows.Forms.PanelColors and overwrite the protected method InitColors:

public class YourPanelColors : PanelColorsOffice
    protected override void InitColors(Dictionary<panelcolors.knowncolors>, rgbTable)
        rgbTable[KnownColors.BorderColor] = Color.FromArgb(101, 147, 207);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.InnerBorderColor] = Color.White;
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelCaptionCloseIcon] = Color.Black;
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelCaptionExpandIcon] = Color.FromArgb(21, 66, 139);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelCaptionGradientBegin] = 
					Color.FromArgb(227, 239, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelCaptionGradientEnd] = 
					Color.FromArgb(173, 209, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelCaptionGradientMiddle] = 
					Color.FromArgb(199, 224, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelContentGradientBegin] = 
					Color.FromArgb(227, 239, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelContentGradientEnd] = 
					Color.FromArgb(227, 239, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelCaptionText] = Color.FromArgb(22, 65, 139);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.PanelCollapsedCaptionText] = 
					Color.FromArgb(21, 66, 139);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelBackColor] = Color.Transparent;
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelCaptionCloseIcon] = Color.Black;
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelCaptionExpandIcon] = 
					Color.FromArgb(21, 66, 139);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelCaptionText] = Color.FromArgb(21, 66, 139);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelCaptionGradientBegin] = 
					Color.FromArgb(227, 239, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelCaptionGradientEnd] = 
					Color.FromArgb(199, 224, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelCaptionGradientMiddle] = 
					Color.FromArgb(173, 209, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelFlatCaptionGradientBegin] = 
					Color.FromArgb(214, 232, 255);
        rgbTable[KnownColors.XPanderPanelFlatCaptionGradientEnd] = 
					Color.FromArgb(253, 253, 254);
}    </panelcolors.knowncolors>

Or you may set the ColorScheme property to ColorScheme.Custom and fill the CustomColors properties with your colors.


  • Thanks to Phil. Wright for his Office 2007 ToolStrip Renderer. That gave me an insight into toolstrip rendering.
  • Thanks to Bernhard Jenny for many tips.


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


About the Author

Uwe Eichkorn
Switzerland Switzerland
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionKeeping panels open while expanding others Pin
xJorDyx24-Aug-08 11:44
memberxJorDyx24-Aug-08 11:44 
AnswerRe: Keeping panels open while expanding others Pin
Uwe Eichkorn8-Sep-08 3:53
memberUwe Eichkorn8-Sep-08 3:53 
GeneralCouldn't find the dll in the download file Pin
Member 148262031-Jul-08 2:34
memberMember 148262031-Jul-08 2:34 
GeneralRe: Couldn't find the dll in the download file Pin
Uwe Eichkorn31-Jul-08 2:49
memberUwe Eichkorn31-Jul-08 2:49 
GeneralXpander Controls ported to [modified] Pin
BartSystems Software Components Engineering16-Jun-08 2:10
memberBartSystems Software Components Engineering16-Jun-08 2:10 
GeneralRe: Xpander Controls ported to Pin
Coreo3-Jul-08 10:12
memberCoreo3-Jul-08 10:12 
GeneralRe: Xpander Controls ported to Pin
BartSystems Software Components Engineering8-Jul-08 2:15
memberBartSystems Software Components Engineering8-Jul-08 2:15 
GeneralGreat Job! Pin
bdprogrammer16-Apr-08 6:37
memberbdprogrammer16-Apr-08 6:37 
GeneralPanel rendering setting change works on Vista but not on XP Pin
ejuste15-Mar-08 23:41
memberejuste15-Mar-08 23:41 
GeneralRe: Panel rendering setting change works on Vista but not on XP Pin
ejuste16-Mar-08 0:05
memberejuste16-Mar-08 0:05 
GeneralRe: Panel rendering setting change works on Vista but not on XP Pin
Uwe Eichkorn16-Mar-08 21:26
memberUwe Eichkorn16-Mar-08 21:26 
GeneralRe: Panel rendering setting change works on Vista but not on XP Pin
ejuste17-Mar-08 10:41
memberejuste17-Mar-08 10:41 
GeneralRe: Panel rendering setting change works on Vista but not on XP Pin
Uwe Eichkorn17-Mar-08 22:32
memberUwe Eichkorn17-Mar-08 22:32 
Generalcan't run under VS2005 WinXP Pin
BillWoodruff22-Jan-08 9:25
memberBillWoodruff22-Jan-08 9:25 
GeneralRe: can't run under VS2005 WinXP Pin
Uwe Eichkorn23-Jan-08 21:25
memberUwe Eichkorn23-Jan-08 21:25 
GeneralLicence Pin
Julian-w18-Jan-08 2:46
memberJulian-w18-Jan-08 2:46 
GeneralRe: Licence Pin
Uwe Eichkorn18-Jan-08 2:52
memberUwe Eichkorn18-Jan-08 2:52 
GeneralRe: Licence Pin
Julian-w19-Jan-08 3:56
memberJulian-w19-Jan-08 3:56 
GeneralRe: Licence Pin
Paw Jershauge28-Nov-08 1:59
memberPaw Jershauge28-Nov-08 1:59 
GeneralDifference between (VB 6.0) Sub & Function Pin
KETAN K.17-Jan-08 19:34
memberKETAN K.17-Jan-08 19:34 
GeneralRe: Difference between (VB 6.0) Sub & Function Pin
Uwe Eichkorn17-Jan-08 19:39
memberUwe Eichkorn17-Jan-08 19:39 
GeneralRe: Difference between (VB 6.0) Sub & Function Pin
KETAN K.17-Jan-08 20:17
memberKETAN K.17-Jan-08 20:17 
QuestionGreat control, but why is caption height fixed ? Pin
EUros4-Jan-08 22:20
memberEUros4-Jan-08 22:20 
AnswerRe: Great control, but why is caption height fixed ? Pin
Uwe Eichkorn7-Jan-08 2:46
memberUwe Eichkorn7-Jan-08 2:46 
AnswerRe: Great control, but why is caption height fixed ? Pin
Uwe Eichkorn17-Jan-08 19:41
memberUwe Eichkorn17-Jan-08 19:41 

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