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Posted 17 Dec 2011


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iPhone ComboBox

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4.88 (15 votes)
12 Mar 2012     CPOL    
iPhone Safari like ComboBox


I was working on a project that required porting an Android application with many combo boxes into a native iPhone application. The requirements were to maintain the ported application look and feel; unfortunately iOS does not include a combobox control. The solution I came up with is a UITextField that uses a UIPickerView for input instead of the keyboard, similar to the Safari implementation of an HTML select field.


I’ve created a UIViewController subclass that contains a UITextField and an arrow image to make it look like a combo box.

When a user touches the UITextField, the following action is invoked:

- (IBAction)showPicker:(id)sender 
    pickerView = [[UIPickerView alloc] init];
    pickerView.showsSelectionIndicator = YES;
    pickerView.dataSource = self;
    pickerView.delegate = self;

    UIToolbar* toolbar = [[UIToolbar alloc] init];
    toolbar.barStyle = UIBarStyleBlackTranslucent;
    [toolbar sizeToFit];
    //to make the done button aligned to the right
    UIBarButtonItem *flexibleSpaceLeft = [[UIBarButtonItem alloc]  
    initWithBarButtonSystemItem:UIBarButtonSystemItemFlexibleSpace target:nil action:nil];
    UIBarButtonItem* doneButton = [[UIBarButtonItem alloc] initWithTitle:@"Done"
                                   style:UIBarButtonItemStyleDone target:self
    [toolbar setItems:[NSArray arrayWithObjects:flexibleSpaceLeft, doneButton, nil]];

    //custom input view
    textField.inputView = pickerView;
    textField.inputAccessoryView = toolbar;  

    [textField resignFirstResponder]; //hides the pickerView

Attached Source Code

  • contains the subclassed ControllerView for easy integration with an existing project.
  • contains the source code of a demo application that uses ComboBox ControllerView.

Using the Code

  • Open Xcode and create a "Single View Application", name it ComboBoxTest.
    Make sure that "Use Automatic Reference Counting" is checked.
  • Download and unzip to a folder named ComboBox (double click on the zip file).
  • Drag and drop the ComboBox folder to the project in Xcode.
    Make sure that "Copy items into destination groups's folder" is checked.
    Make sure that "Create groups for any added folders" is checked.
  • Edit ViewController.h: Add #import "ComboBox.h", declare ComboBox* combo1;
    The header file should look like this:
    #import <uikit>
    #import "ComboBox.h"
    @interface ViewController : UIViewController
        ComboBox* combo1;     
  • Edit ViewController.m, add the following to viewDidLoad:
    NSMutableArray* fruitsArray = [[NSMutableArray alloc] init];
    [fruitsArray addObject:@"Apple"];
    [fruitsArray addObject:@"Banana"];
    [fruitsArray addObject:@"Orange"];
    combo1 = [[ComboBox alloc] init];
    [combo1 setComboData:fruitsArray];          //Assign the array to ComboBox
    [self.view addSubview:combo1.view];
    combo1.view.frame = CGRectMake(110, 69, 120, 31);      //ComboBox location and 
                            //size (x,y,width,height)
  • Build and run, that's it.


  • 17th December, 2011: Initial post


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


About the Author

Dor Alon
Software Developer (Senior) Dor Software
Israel Israel
Freelance Software Developer

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
ForestHymn19-Dec-11 13:33
memberForestHymn19-Dec-11 13:33 

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Article Copyright 2011 by Dor Alon
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