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Pre-beginner's guide to using a timer

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4.65 (48 votes)
15 Mar 2002CPOL
Shows how you can use a timer proc in your windows forms apps

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This is my first C# article in a long time. A couple of days ago, Paul Watson was chatting with me on Sonork and he suddenly mentioned that in VB he used to use some function called Now() which used to give him the current date and time instantly. He was complaining that he couldn't find the corresponding .NET function. That's when I did a quick check and discovered the DateTime class or rather structure.

Of course this article is not about the DateTime structure. I suddenly wondered how to use timer based procedures from C#. We all use SetTimer once in a while when we code and it struck me as odd that I never wondered about this in C#. Luckily I had that new Petzold book and Chapter 10 was dedicated to timers and time related functions. Just one page on timers though, though to be fair to him, that was all that was needed. I then played around with it a little.

This article will simply show you how to use them, though if you have the Petzold book that's all you need really. I am also including as an example project, a program that will wait on you and keep popping up a reminder Yes/No message at the time interval you specify, till you click on Yes.

Using Timers

We use the System.Windows.Forms.Timer class for our timer purposes. First we need to create a Timer object. Then we need to set the timer interval. This is accomplished as follows :-

Timer timer01 = new Timer();
timer01.Interval = 1000;

The Timer class has a Tick event. That's exactly what we needed eh? We add our timerproc as our Timer object's event handler as follows :-

timer01.Tick += new EventHandler(timerproc);

Then we simply enable the timer.

timer01.Enabled = true;

That's it. Now every 1000 milliseconds [cause that's the amount we specified], the timerproc gets called.

The timer proc

Within our form class we'll need a function like this :-

void timerproc(object o1, EventArgs e1)
	//blah blah blah
	//blah blah blah
	//blah blah blah

Say, you want to close the timer after some time. Then you can do this :-

((Timer)o1).Tick -= new EventHandler(timerproc);

Before I sign off I better tell you how to get the current time, since that's how this whole article got started :-)


Now people like Paul won't complain that .NET is tougher than VB ;-)


I am fully aware of the enormously high flame potential this article has and that it is a pre-beginner level thing that I have explained here. But I was quite delighted when I got the timer working and I thought there might be other idiots like me who would be similarly happy. And I simply could not resist the temptation to write another CP article, specially since I have temporarily ceased work on my planned Winsock series.


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


About the Author

Nish Nishant
United States United States
Nish Nishant is a Principal Software Architect based out of Columbus, Ohio. He has over 17 years of software industry experience in various roles including Lead Software Architect, Principal Software Engineer, and Product Manager. Nish was a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP between 2002 and 2015.

Nish is an industry acknowledged expert in the Microsoft technology stack. He authored C++/CLI in Action for Manning Publications in 2005, and had previously co-authored Extending MFC Applications with the .NET Framework for Addison Wesley in 2003. In addition, he has over 140 published technology articles on and another 250+ blog articles on his WordPress blog. Nish is vastly experienced in team management, mentoring teams, and directing all stages of software development.

Contact Nish : If you are interested in hiring Nish as a consultant, you can reach him via his google email id voidnish.

Company Website :

Comments and Discussions

QuestionGreat article ! Pin
Wrangly15-Aug-11 23:37
MemberWrangly15-Aug-11 23:37 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
M Bester2-Feb-11 23:27
MemberM Bester2-Feb-11 23:27 
QuestionHow to make a timer? Pin
3nity6-Sep-08 7:13
Member3nity6-Sep-08 7:13 
Questiontimer won't fire Pin
c-a-b-6-Apr-06 5:31
Memberc-a-b-6-Apr-06 5:31 
GeneralTick Event Problem Pin
Anonymous4-Dec-03 17:38
MemberAnonymous4-Dec-03 17:38 
GeneralScreenShot Pin
ColinDavies19-Mar-02 18:06
MemberColinDavies19-Mar-02 18:06 
GeneralRe: ScreenShot Pin
Nish Nishant19-Mar-02 18:11
sitebuilderNish Nishant19-Mar-02 18:11 
GeneralRe: ScreenShot Pin
ColinDavies19-Mar-02 18:21
MemberColinDavies19-Mar-02 18:21 
GeneralRe: ScreenShot Pin
Nish Nishant19-Mar-02 18:30
sitebuilderNish Nishant19-Mar-02 18:30 
GeneralRe: ScreenShot Pin
Tim Smith20-Mar-02 2:58
MemberTim Smith20-Mar-02 2:58 
GeneralRe: ScreenShot Pin
Nish Nishant20-Mar-02 3:23
sitebuilderNish Nishant20-Mar-02 3:23 
GeneralAdditionally, Pin
David Wengier18-Mar-02 0:25
MemberDavid Wengier18-Mar-02 0:25 
GeneralRe: Additionally, Pin
Nish Nishant18-Mar-02 0:42
sitebuilderNish Nishant18-Mar-02 0:42 
GeneralWelcome! Pin
Mazdak16-Mar-02 5:15
MemberMazdak16-Mar-02 5:15 
GeneralRe: Welcome! Pin
Nish Nishant17-Mar-02 14:04
sitebuilderNish Nishant17-Mar-02 14:04 
GeneralGood Article Pin
Nick Parker16-Mar-02 1:44
protectorNick Parker16-Mar-02 1:44 
GeneralRe: Good Article Pin
Nish Nishant16-Mar-02 3:12
sitebuilderNish Nishant16-Mar-02 3:12 
GeneralRe: Good Article Pin
Chris Maunder16-Mar-02 8:36
cofounderChris Maunder16-Mar-02 8:36 
GeneralRe: Good Article Pin
Nish Nishant17-Mar-02 14:05
sitebuilderNish Nishant17-Mar-02 14:05 
GeneralRe: Good Article Pin
ColinDavies19-Mar-02 18:10
MemberColinDavies19-Mar-02 18:10 
GeneralRe: Good Article Pin
Nish Nishant19-Mar-02 18:14
sitebuilderNish Nishant19-Mar-02 18:14 
GeneralRe: Good Article Pin
ColinDavies19-Mar-02 18:19
MemberColinDavies19-Mar-02 18:19 
GeneralRe: Good Article Pin
Nish Nishant19-Mar-02 18:24
sitebuilderNish Nishant19-Mar-02 18:24 

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Posted 15 Mar 2002


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