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Posted 13 Apr 2007


, 27 Nov 2008
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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

GeneralRe: tabcontrol flickering when mouse moving Pin
Uwe Eichkorn22-Sep-09 4:28
memberUwe Eichkorn22-Sep-09 4:28 
QuestionHeavy flickering when resizing Pin
AKDM19-Aug-09 13:30
memberAKDM19-Aug-09 13:30 
AnswerRe: Heavy flickering when resizing Pin
Uwe Eichkorn20-Aug-09 9:24
memberUwe Eichkorn20-Aug-09 9:24 
GeneralRe: Heavy flickering when resizing Pin
AKDM21-Aug-09 7:12
memberAKDM21-Aug-09 7:12 
Questionhow to implement panel collapsing? Pin
eug200726-Jul-09 4:13
membereug200726-Jul-09 4:13 
AnswerRe: how to implement panel collapsing? Pin
Uwe Eichkorn26-Jul-09 20:49
memberUwe Eichkorn26-Jul-09 20:49 
QuestionHow to change Panel color using Office2007BlueColorTable Pin
AKDM19-Jul-09 10:55
memberAKDM19-Jul-09 10:55 
AnswerRe: How to change Panel color using Office2007BlueColorTable Pin
Uwe Eichkorn19-Jul-09 22:01
memberUwe Eichkorn19-Jul-09 22:01 
for the rendering of the controls there are two different color tables necessary.

One is located in the renderer directory. It inherits from System.Windows.Forms.ProfessionalColorTable and provides the colors used by the MS display elements.

The other color table is located in the XPander directory. It inherits from BSE.Windows.Forms.PanelColors and provides the colors used by the BSE.Windows.Forms elements.

The property PanelColorTable in class Office2007BlueColorTable does the mapping between the PanelColorTable and Office2007BlueColorTable.

public class Office2007BlueColorTable : BSE.Windows.Forms.OfficeColorTable
	/// <summary>
	/// Gets the associated ColorTable for the XPanderControls
	/// </summary>
	public override PanelColors PanelColorTable
                	if (this.m_panelColorTable == null)
                		this.m_panelColorTable = new PanelColorsOffice2007Blue();
                	return this.m_panelColorTable;

For the use of the PanelColors table at runtime there is an example at Form2.cs in the demo app.

Regards Uwe
GeneralThanks ! Great Work ! Pin
igetorix31-May-09 4:07
memberigetorix31-May-09 4:07 
GeneralSimply awesome !!! Pin
Tamal Saha13-May-09 20:01
memberTamal Saha13-May-09 20:01 
GeneralThanks Pin
stevesupervillain9-Mar-09 6:08
memberstevesupervillain9-Mar-09 6:08 
GeneralPanel with Autoscroll Pin
WayneSchou24-Feb-09 14:29
memberWayneSchou24-Feb-09 14:29 
QuestionUSE FREE Pin
Member 323381629-Dec-08 4:12
memberMember 323381629-Dec-08 4:12 
GeneralSaving and restoring positions Pin
Tom Holt2-Dec-08 6:05
memberTom Holt2-Dec-08 6:05 
GeneralRe: Saving and restoring positions Pin
Uwe Eichkorn2-Dec-08 11:15
memberUwe Eichkorn2-Dec-08 11:15 
QuestionHow about supportting docking and drag-drop? Pin
jeasonzhao1-Dec-08 17:23
memberjeasonzhao1-Dec-08 17:23 
AnswerRe: How about supportting docking and drag-drop? Pin
Uwe Eichkorn1-Dec-08 21:43
memberUwe Eichkorn1-Dec-08 21:43 
GeneralSo beautyful those controls,I need another version! Pin
topmvp17-Nov-08 20:24
membertopmvp17-Nov-08 20:24 
QuestionKeeping panels open while expanding others Pin
xJorDyx24-Aug-08 12:44
memberxJorDyx24-Aug-08 12:44 
AnswerRe: Keeping panels open while expanding others Pin
Uwe Eichkorn8-Sep-08 4:53
memberUwe Eichkorn8-Sep-08 4:53 
GeneralCouldn't find the dll in the download file Pin
Member 148262031-Jul-08 3:34
memberMember 148262031-Jul-08 3:34 
GeneralRe: Couldn't find the dll in the download file Pin
Uwe Eichkorn31-Jul-08 3:49
memberUwe Eichkorn31-Jul-08 3:49 
GeneralXpander Controls ported to [modified] Pin
BartSystems Software Components Engineering16-Jun-08 3:10
memberBartSystems Software Components Engineering16-Jun-08 3:10 
GeneralRe: Xpander Controls ported to Pin
Coreo3-Jul-08 11:12
memberCoreo3-Jul-08 11:12 
GeneralRe: Xpander Controls ported to Pin
BartSystems Software Components Engineering8-Jul-08 3:15
memberBartSystems Software Components Engineering8-Jul-08 3:15 

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