If you have ever written a data-entry application, there's a big chance you used the
NumericUpDown control. This control is great to provide a field to enter numeric values, with advanced features like up-down buttons and accelerating auto-repeat.
The other side of the coin is that
NumericUpDown is not really mouse-aware. I experienced some bugs and bad behaviors:
- I need to select all the text when it gets focus (see below), but it misses some of the
TextBox properties, like
AutoSelect property will be useful).
- Some of the standard events are not working properly (see below):
- Rotating the mouse wheel when the control is focused causes its value to change. A property to change this behavior, like
InterceptArrowsKeys for up/down keys, will be useful.
That's why I decided to subclass it, fixing these points and adding missing features and properties.
Missing TextBox Properties
I needed some missing
TextBox properties when I was asked to select all the text in the control when it gets the focus.
NumericUpDown exposes a
Select(int Start, int Length) method you can call to select all text. At first try, I attached to the
GotFocus event to call
Select(0, x) but, hey, wait a moment... what should I use for x? It seems that any value is accepted, even if greater than the text length. OK, let's say
x=100 and proceed. This works well with the keyboard focus keys (like TAB), but it's completely useless with the mouse: a mouse click raises the
GotFocus event (where I select all the text), but as soon as you release the button, a zero-selection is done, leaving the control with no selection. OK, I thought, let's add a
SelectAll on the
MouseUp event too, but this way, the user cannot perform a partial selection anymore; each time the mouse button is released, all the text is selected. I need to know if a partial selection exists; in a
TextBox, I can test it with
SelectionLength > 0, so I need to access the underlying
Now comes the tricky part:
NumericUpDown is a composite control, a
TextBox and a button box. Looking inside it through the Reflector, we can find the internal field which holds the textbox part:
Friend upDownEdit As UpDownEdit
We'll obtain a reference to this field using the underlying
Controls() collection. Note that we should add some safety checks because future .NET Framework implementations could change things.
Public Sub New()
_upDownButtons = MyBase.Controls(0)
If _upDownButtons Is Nothing _
OrElse _upDownButtons.GetType().FullName <> _
Throw New ArgumentNullException(Me.GetType.FullName & _
": Can't a reference to internal UpDown buttons field.")
_textbox = TryCast(MyBase.Controls(1), TextBox)
If _textbox Is Nothing _
OrElse _textbox.GetType().FullName <> _
Throw New ArgumentNullException(Me.GetType.FullName & _
": Can't get a reference to internal TextBox field.")
Now that we have the underlying
TextBox, it is possible to export some missing properties:
Public Property SelectionStart() As Integer
Set(ByVal value As Integer)
_textbox.SelectionStart = value
And finally, we can have a perfectly working mouse management:
Protected Overrides Sub OnMouseUp(ByVal mevent As MouseEventArgs)
If _autoSelect AndAlso _textbox.SelectionLength = 0 Then
Mouse Events Not Raised Properly
MouseLeave events are raised in couples: a
MouseEnter immediately followed by a
MouseLeave. Maybe that's why, to discourage their use, they are marked with a
<Browsable(False)> attribute. Since I need the
MouseEnter event to update my
StatusBar caption, I investigated a little on this "bug".
As said above,
NumericUpDown is a composite control (red rectangle in the following picture) containing a
TextBox (left green rectangle) and some other controls:
The "control" area is the one between the red and the green rectangles; when you fly over it with the mouse, you'll receive the
MouseEnter event while between the red and the green, then
MouseLeave when inside the green rectangle. The same happens when you leave.
The better way to raise these events, now that we can access the underlying
TextBox, is to re-raise the
MouseLeave events as raised from the
TextBox itself; this is what
NumericUpDown's management of the mouse wheel is, sometimes, really annoying. Suppose you have an application which displays some kind of chart, with a topmost dialog (toolbox) to let the user change some parameters of the graph. In this dialog, the only controls which can keep the focus are
After your user puts the focus inside one of them, the mouse wheel is captured by the
NumericUpDown. When the user wheels to, say, scroll the graph, the effect is that the focused field value is changed; this behavior is really annoying.
A fix could be to kill the
WM_MOUSEWHEEL message for the control, but this will kill even "legal" wheelings.
NumericUpDown has a property which allows
WM_MOUSEWHEEL messages to pass only if the mouse pointer is over the control, making sure that the user is wheeling to change the control value.
This is done by keeping track of the mouse state in the
MouseLeave events, then killing
WM_MOUSEWHEEL messages accordingly.
How to Use the Control
Simply include NumericUpDownEx.vb in your project and use the control like you'll do with the standard
NumericUpDown. If you have a C# project, you could reference the CoolSoft.NumericUpDownEx.dll assembly or, better, try to convert the code to C# (it should not be so difficult). I could provide a C# version upon request.
- Added "Never" value to ShowUpDownButtonsMode enum to always hide UpDown spinner control
- Removed reflection code, now underlying controls are retrieved with managed code only (thanks to JWhattam for this suggestion)
- Added new
WrapValue property: when set, if
Maximum is reached during an increment,
Value will restart from
Minimum (and vice versa)
(feature suggested by YosiHakel here)
- Cleaned up the C# version
- Added two new events
BeforeValueIncrement, as suggested by andrea@gmi. This will allow to give different increment/decrement depending on the current control value
- Added a C# version of the control to the ZIP
My most popular project is VirtualMIDISynth
, a software MIDI synthesizer (using .sf2 soundfont files) implemented as a virtual device driver. It works on all modern Windows OS from XP to 8, both 32 and 64 bit.
Another project of mine is DeCodEx
(DEsigner CODe EXtractor), a free tool to split VisualStudio 2003 forms and controls source code into the new 2005/2008 partial classes format (*.vb and *.Designer.vb, or *.cs and *.Designer.cs).
I like writing tools to make my seveloper and SysAdmin life easier.
You can find them here: http://coolsoft.altervista.org