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Posted 1 Mar 2009


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DataGridView Filter Popup

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20 Mar 2009CPOL8 min read
A flexible library to add filtering capabilities to a DataGridView.



I was looking for an easy and flexible grid filtering mechanism to use with new and old applications. I've found no preexisting solutions that fully satisfy my needs. So, I decided to make my own filtering library. The goals I've tried to reach are:

  • Easy to integrate: Availability of a "few lines of code" usage to satisfy the needs of rapid integration.
  • User Friendly: Nice to look, easy to use.
  • Not code pervasive: Using a DataGridView derivation would constrain people to re-declare their instances. Moreover, this could be in conflict with existing grid derivations.
  • Flexible: There are never enough filters in the world!

Using the Code

This is for eager people. The promised "few lines of code" are just one. Add the DgvFilterPopup.dll to your references. Write somewhere a line like this:

DgvFilterManager filterManager = new DgvFilterManager(dataGridView1);

That's all. Your grid is now able to filter the column values. Right-click on the column headers to see a popup with different filtering features, based on the clicked column data type.

Note: Your grid must be data-bound to a DataView, DataTable, or a BindingSource resolving to one of these two.

Class Architecture

The three main classes are exposed in the following diagram:


The DgvFilterManager Class

The DgvFilterManager class doesn't provide a user interface. Its work is to coordinate the interaction between the DataGridView and the visual filtering elements. When you assign a DataGridView to a DgvFilterManager, the latter attaches some handlers to respond to right click on column headers and to perform some custom painting on the grid. When the user right clicks a column header, the DgvFilterManager shows a popup near the column. This popup is a control that serves as a host for other controls, one for each column. Only one of these child controls is visible at a time, based on the clicked column. We have one filter host control and many column filter child controls.

The filter host control must be a derivation of the DgvBaseFilterHost class, while filter controls must be derived from the DgvBaseColumnFilter class. These two classes don't provide any user interface themselves.

As a default, the DgvFilterManager uses a standard host implementation, named DgvFilterHost, and depending on each column type and data type, one of the filter standard implementations (see below): DgvTextBoxColumnFilter, DgvCheckBoxColumnFilter, DgvComboBoxColumnFilter, or DgvDateColumnFilter.

When a DataGridView is attached to the manager, the latter performs the following actions:

  • It creates a filter host that is an instance of the DgvFilterHost class. If you have already provided a filter host, this step is skipped.
  • It creates a list of DgvBaseColumnFilters, one per column, and initializes each element to a specialization of DgvBaseColumnFilter. If AutoCreateFilters is false, this step is skipped.

You can force a specific column filter type for a certain column, intervening in this process through the ColumnFilterAdding event. You can also intervene, after the auto-creation process, accessing the filter instances through one of the two indexers provided by the manager, and replacing them with user-chosen instances.

The DgvBaseFilterHost Class

The purpose of the filter host control is to show a popup near a right-clicked column and to host child column filter controls. When the popup is shown, only the column filter control related to the right-clicked column is visible. DgvBaseFilterHost is a derivation of UserControl, and provides functionalities to cooperate with DgvFilterManager.

Note: This class is intended as an abstract class. However, declaring it as abstract would generate errors within the designer when designing derived classes.

In your derivation, you have to provide a host area (such as a panel) and override the FilterClientArea to return it. Also, create visual elements for remove filter, remove all filters, apply filter, and use the DgvFilterManager methods ActivateFilter and ActivateAllFilters to make them alive.

The DgvBaseColumnFilter Class

The purpose of a column filter control is to contain visual elements, allowing the end user to construct a filter. When inheriting from it, you can work just like creating any other user control. This class is a derivation of UserControl, and provides functionalities to cooperate with DgvFilterManager.

Note: This class is intended as an abstract class. However, declaring it as abstract would generate errors within the designer when designing derived classes.

You should override OnFilterExpressionBuilding to provide a filter expression construction logic and to set the values of the FilterExpression and FilterCaption properties.

Standard Implementations


The DgvFilterHost Class


This is the standard implementation of DgvBaseFilterHost. This class does nothing special. Most of the logic is in its base class. It just contains visual elements such as buttons and graphics, and a panel acting as the client area for child column filter controls.

The DgvTextBoxColumnFilter Class


This is one of the DgvBaseColumnFilter standard implementations. It's composed of a combobox containing a list of operators and a textbox in which to type the value of the filter. This column filter is used by default with DataGridViewTextBoxColumns, except when the bound data type is DateTime. The list of available operators is different between string types and numeric types.

The DgvTextBoxColumnFilter Class


A standard implementation for the filtering of checkbox columns. The only available operators are the equal and the general null and not null operators.

The DgvDateColumnFilter Class


A standard implementation for the filtering of date columns.

The DgvComboBoxColumnFilter Class


A standard implementation for the filtering of combobox columns. By default, on textbox columns, the filter manager uses DgvTextBoxColumnFilter instances. However, you can force an instance of DgvComboBoxColumnFilter on such columns. In this case, the DgvComboBoxColumnFilter instance automatically creates a distinct list of values from the column data. You should do an explicit call to the RefreshValues() method when the underlying data changes.


If "one line usage" is not sufficient for your needs, you can control the process of adding and showing filters in different ways.

Using a DgvComboBoxColumnFilter for Non-Combobox Columns

Use one of the manager indexers to access the filter, and assign it an instance of the DgvComboBoxColumnFilter class.

DgvFilterManager fm = new DgvFilterManager(dataGridView1);
fm["CustomerID"] = new DgvComboBoxColumnFilter();

Using Events


Using this manager event, you may force your preferred filter before the manager creates the predefined filter. The event is raised for each column in the grid when you set the DataGridView property.

  DgvFilterManager fm = new DgvFilterManager();
  fm.ColumnFilterAdding += new ColumnFilterEventHandler(fm_ColumnFilterAdding);
  fm.DataGridView = dataGridView1; // this raises ColumnFilterAdding events

void fm_ColumnFilterAdding(object sender, ColumnFilterEventArgs e) {
  if (e.Column.Name == "CustomerID") {
    e.ColumnFilter = new DgvComboBoxColumnFilter();


This manager event allows you to customize the filter host position when popped up.

  DgvFilterManager fm = new DgvFilterManager();
  fm.DataGridView = dataGridView1;
  // Customize the popup positioning.
  fm.PopupShowing += new ColumnFilterEventHandler(fm_PopupShowing);

void fm_PopupShowing(object sender, ColumnFilterEventArgs e) {
  DgvFilterManager fm = ((DgvFilterManager)sender);
  Rectangle HeaderRectangle = 
  //Show the popup under the column header
  fm.FilterHost.Popup.Show(fm.DataGridView, HeaderRectangle.Left, 
  e.Handled = true;



Using the DgvBaseColumnFilter event, you can customize the filter expression building process. In the following code example, we add new operators and then manage them in the event handler. The FilterExpression and FilterCaption properties will be used by the manager to build the whole filter and to set the column caption.

  DgvDateColumnFilter OrderDate;
  DgvFilterManager fm = new DgvFilterManager(dataGridView1);
  fm.DataGridView = dataGridView1; //after this line, column filters are created

  // Get the created column filter for OrderDate column
  OrderDate = ((DgvDateColumnFilter)fm["OrderDate"]);

  //Add some new operators
  OrderDate.ComboBoxOperator.Items.Insert(0, "This year");
  OrderDate.ComboBoxOperator.Items.Insert(1, "1 year ago");
  OrderDate.ComboBoxOperator.Items.Insert(2, "2 years ago");

  //Add an handler
  OrderDate.FilterExpressionBuilding += 
    new CancelEventHandler(OrderDate_FilterExpressionBuilding);
void OrderDate_FilterExpressionBuilding(object sender, CancelEventArgs e) {
  int index = OrderDate.ComboBoxOperator.SelectedIndex;
  if (index < 3) { // the first 3 are the new operators
    int year = (DateTime.Today.Year - index);
    OrderDate.FilterExpression = "(OrderDate>='" + year.ToString() + "-1-1' " 
                               + "AND OrderDate<='" + year.ToString() + "-12-31') ";
    OrderDate.FilterCaption = OrderDate.OriginalDataGridViewColumnHeaderText 
                            + "\n = year " + year.ToString();
    e.Cancel = true;


A more powerful way to customize your filters is through subclassing. You should think of the proposed standard implementations of DgvBaseFilterHost and DgvBaseColumnFilter as just some possible implementations.

Creating Your Own Host


As said above, derive from DgvBaseFilterHost and provide some visual elements. Add a container within your control to host the child filter controls, and return it by an override of the FilterClientArea property. The base class provides the necessary logic to cooperate with the manager, and provides some facilities helping to position the child filter controls and to adjust the host size. Another facility simplifies the creation of transparent skinned hosts, thanks to the method BitmapToRegion I've found in a very nice article by John O'Byrne.

Note: A skinned host must be constrained to a fixed size. Be sure to inhibit the resize logic by overriding the DoAutoFit method. Also, keep in mind this limitation when designing your own host and your filters.

DgvFilterManager fm = new DgvFilterManager();
fm.FilterHost = new CustomizedFilterHost();
fm.DataGridView = dataGridView1;

Creating Your Own Column Filters


Creating new column filters is simple. Derive from DgvBaseColumnFilter and add your visual elements. Override OnFilterExpressionBuilding to provide filter building logic and, using DataView.RowFilter rules, assign a value to the FilterExpression property and a title to the FilterCaption property.

Remember that the filter is applied when the user clicks on the OK button of the host. However, you can obtain an immediate filter application doing a call to the RebuildFilter method of the filter manager.

New Filters

To satisfy some requests, in the update, I've introduced three new filter implementations:


The DgvMonthYearColumnFilter Class


This filter allows the user to select a month and a year. By setting the YearMin and YearMax properties, you can control the shown years range. Month names default to English, but you may provide culture-specific names by once setting the value of the static property MonthCsvList with a comma separated list of month names.

The DgvNumRangeColumnFilter Class


Use this filter to allow the user to specify a range filter on numeric columns.

The DgvDateRangeColumnFilter Class


Use this filter to allow the user to specify a range filter on date columns.


In this article, I've exposed the class architecture and common usage scenarios. This conceptual overview, I hope, will help you understand how it works. For detailed explanations and references, you can see the attached documentation.

Note: To those interested in documenting their works, I've used these materials:


  • (19 Mar 2009)
    • Added three new embedded filters: DgvDateRangeColumnFilter, DgvMonthYearColumnFilter, and DgvNumRangeColumnFilter.
    • It's now possible to dynamically change the DataSource.
  • (04 Mar 2009)
    • Fix: Filters are now applied when the grid is bound to a BindingSource which uses a DataSet as the first source.
  • (01 Mar 2009)
    • Initial release.


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


About the Author

Vincenzo Rossi
Technical Lead
Italy Italy
I'm a graduate in Computer Science.
I work with Metatrader MQL4,MQL5 / C# / Asp.Net / Windows Forms / SQL Server / Access / VBA / HTML / CSS / Javascript / classic C/C++.

I also like writing songs and playing around with my band Diversamente Rossi.
This is the video of the song Un'altra estate from the album L'immobile disegno.

"Short code, good code"

Comments and Discussions

QuestionDgvMultiCheckBoxColumnFilter Pin
Gerhard202125-Oct-21 21:02
MemberGerhard202125-Oct-21 21:02 
QuestionException thrown setting DataGridView Pin
Member 1221584612-Oct-21 1:03
MemberMember 1221584612-Oct-21 1:03 
AnswerRe: Exception thrown setting DataGridView Pin
Member 1221584612-Oct-21 2:34
MemberMember 1221584612-Oct-21 2:34 
QuestionDemo Video Pin
Tony Aug202120-Aug-21 19:43
MemberTony Aug202120-Aug-21 19:43 
QuestionIs it possible to export the filtered data in the Datagridview to Excel? Pin
Member 1323656616-Feb-21 5:43
MemberMember 1323656616-Feb-21 5:43 
QuestionSome kind of problem Pin
Member 1505928028-Jan-21 23:27
MemberMember 1505928028-Jan-21 23:27 
QuestionLavoro encomiabile! Pin
Rolando De Biasi5-Nov-20 1:22
MemberRolando De Biasi5-Nov-20 1:22 
PraiseThanks!!! Pin
Member 1139893328-Jan-20 20:44
MemberMember 1139893328-Jan-20 20:44 
QuestionHI its working properly. Thanks Pin
Member 146414451-Nov-19 1:49
MemberMember 146414451-Nov-19 1:49 
QuestionHow can I call other function also on Click on Green Button Pin
Member 110657949-Sep-19 2:33
MemberMember 110657949-Sep-19 2:33 
QuestionHide/View Column from List Functionality be added Pin
Sushil.Agarwal26-Apr-18 3:28
MemberSushil.Agarwal26-Apr-18 3:28 
PraiseGreat!! Pin
Member 135652498-Dec-17 1:45
MemberMember 135652498-Dec-17 1:45 
QuestionHave you developed same DLL which works with VIsual Basic6.0 Pin
Member 1345953625-Oct-17 2:35
MemberMember 1345953625-Oct-17 2:35 
AnswerRe: Have you developed same DLL which works with VIsual Basic6.0 Pin
lrhage17-Jul-18 11:09
Memberlrhage17-Jul-18 11:09 
QuestionSUM of a Numeric Column in the DataGridView Pin
nabilg17-Oct-17 1:11
Membernabilg17-Oct-17 1:11 
Questioncould not load file or assembly DGVFilterPopup Pin
delaram7-Sep-17 1:15
Memberdelaram7-Sep-17 1:15 
AnswerRe: could not load file or assembly DGVFilterPopup Pin
karenpayne7-Sep-17 4:11
Memberkarenpayne7-Sep-17 4:11 
GeneralRe: could not load file or assembly DGVFilterPopup Pin
delaram8-Sep-17 3:46
Memberdelaram8-Sep-17 3:46 
QuestionThank you!!!! Pin
Cristiano Bartolomei25-Jun-17 11:46
MemberCristiano Bartolomei25-Jun-17 11:46 
QuestionExcelent work!!!! Pin
Member 810026013-Feb-17 2:00
MemberMember 810026013-Feb-17 2:00 
AnswerRe: Excelent work!!!! Pin
nabilg17-Oct-17 1:10
Membernabilg17-Oct-17 1:10 
Questionfilter work incorrectly Pin
Member 1250979813-Dec-16 0:51
MemberMember 1250979813-Dec-16 0:51 
QuestionNot Working with Visual Studio 2015 and in memory data set Pin
WolfgangRoth26-Oct-16 8:10
MemberWolfgangRoth26-Oct-16 8:10 
Questiongreat work¡¡¡ Pin
aestepa29-Sep-16 6:52
Memberaestepa29-Sep-16 6:52 
Questionthanks Pin
Member 1114849422-Jun-16 16:04
MemberMember 1114849422-Jun-16 16:04 

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