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Posted 29 Jun 2007

Example for FolderBrowserDialog in C#

, 29 Jun 2007
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An article discussing FolderBrowseDialog in C#


In various cases, applications allow the user to open a single file, but also a particular folder. For instance, in an MP3 player the user can either add a single file to the play list or can choose an entire folder of MP3 files. This article describes how folders can be opened in C#.

Using the code

The example presented in this article does not contain much code. Therefore I have inserted everything in one class, as it is still easy to understand.

Required namespaces

Besides the namespaces which are used by default, it is necessary to use the IO namespace as well. Therefore the following line is added at the top of the sample file. This namespace is required to perform step 3.

using System.IO;

Step 1: Additional settings

Basically, there are two additional settings available to make the dialog more customized. First, the property ShowNewFolderButton determines whether the user can create a new folder or not.
this.folderBrowserDialog.ShowNewFolderButton = false;
Second, the property RootFolder defines the top level folder of the dialog, i.e. the folder which will be shown initially.
this.folderBrowserDialog.RootFolder =

Step 2: Show the dialog

In order to present the dialog on the screen, the ShowDialog() method is used. This method returns an enumeration that is necessary to process the user input. If the user presses Open in the dialog, the return value is DialogResult.OK as in the listing below.

DialogResult result=this.folderBrowserDialog.ShowDialog();
if (result==DialogResult.OK)
    // the code here will be executed if the user presses Open in
    // the dialog.

Step 3: Get the folder content

After the user presses Open, the selected folder is stored as a string in the property SelectedPath. Now it might be useful to retrieve the content of the folder. In the following snippet, each file name will be added to a listbox. In order to make use of the GetFiles method of the Directory class, the IO namespace is needed, as I mentioned above.

string foldername=this.folderBrowserDialog.SelectedPath;
    foreach (string f in Directory.GetFiles(foldername))


First and foremost, I used MSDN to find information for writing this article. Besides that, another useful article can be found here.


The FolderBrowserDialog is quite useful if you want to open a particular folder. I used this, for example, to develop some smaller tools that I use for file management. It was a surprise for me how simple it is to use.


  • 29 June, 2007 -- Original version posted


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Martin Baeumer
Germany Germany
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
VitorHugoGarcia26-Feb-13 1:10
memberVitorHugoGarcia26-Feb-13 1:10 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Gun Gun Febrianza10-Aug-12 1:53
memberGun Gun Febrianza10-Aug-12 1:53 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
agusriyadi29-Jun-12 9:50
memberagusriyadi29-Jun-12 9:50 
GeneralMy FolderBrowseDialog is opening behide the ie using silver light 2.0 Pin
vikramsc19-Nov-09 18:21
membervikramsc19-Nov-09 18:21 
GeneralRunning dialog in separate thread that resulted in blank screen - here is the solution Pin
Cuchuk Sergey26-Aug-09 0:27
memberCuchuk Sergey26-Aug-09 0:27 
GeneralCheckBox Pin
A. Raees31-Aug-08 23:55
memberA. Raees31-Aug-08 23:55 
Generalthank you! Pin
galaxy78718-Oct-07 23:39
membergalaxy78718-Oct-07 23:39 
GeneralLess/Useless content Pin
ADLER129-Jun-07 6:36
memberADLER129-Jun-07 6:36 
GeneralRe: Less/Useless content Pin
ksh648-Oct-09 2:43
memberksh648-Oct-09 2:43 
1. Why to write an general article on this WinForms control if the info is already on MSDN.
2. Why to set an extra variable for the SelectedPath property -> extra memory consumption.
3. the same question on the ShowDialog() returned value.
4. There are already other articles on this topic.
5. (SORRY! if my opinion is wrong but) I think you just wanted to upgrade your status here.
6. There is no need to include downloadable source code.

1. This is a much less intimidating format for a novice programmer than the MSDN page. Introducing people to something in this way is nice Smile | :)
2. I would rather keep the string in memory than the dialog box. If you plan on using the path later in the application you obviously need to store it somewhere.. Storing it in the dialogbox would be um.. silly.
3. It makes fiddling about with it much easier. This is not an optimization discussion.. it is for newbies.
4. This one happens to be first one in many google searches so.. deal with it :-p
5. And the problem with this is what? The article is helpful and decently written.
6. For a newbie it is not a bad idea. And if a teacher in lower levels of education want to show students/pupils code it is much easier to get down int othe code and look at it without having to first learn how to create a project and do all the "housekeeping" required to create a new one.

And my final comment? Storage is cheap. If the information is not wrong what the hell is the problem with this article? We need better ways to search, not less content.

I realize this is an ancient comment but I hate to see it stand unchallenged because it sounds so incredibly disrespectful towards someone who put in the effort to contribute.

*A miffed professional engineer who dabbles in education*
AnswerRe: Less/Useless content Pin
Windmiller4-Oct-13 21:24
memberWindmiller4-Oct-13 21:24 

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