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Posted 26 Jan 2002

Implementing an OwnerDrawn ComboBox

, 3 Feb 2002
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This article shows how to create an OwnerDrawn combobox
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Sample Image - OwnerDrawnComboBox.gif

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Introduction

Hi there, I've been waiting for ages and ages for someone to kindly post the code for an owner drawn ComboBox but alas, to no avail. That's right, I'm your average, lowly leech and I've been stealing code off CodeProject for a long time now. Well looks like this time I actually had to go write something on my own. My guess is it was too simple a problem for most of you to bother with. But please do keep writing articles for relative beginners because most of us have to start with the simple things first. Luckily, writing the code turned out to be childs play with the .NET framework.

Ok, lets begin. First thing to do is drop a ComboBox onto a form and change it's DrawMode property to OwnerDrawFixed. This will mean that all the items appearing in the ComboBox will have the same dimensons. If you're going to draw items in the ComboBox that are of variable sizes then you would change the property to OwnerDrawVariable and be forced to deal with a MeasureItem event. I won't be covering that here. Next, create a DataSource for the ComboBox, as well as a corresponding collection of images. In my case I simply used two Arrays The following code should now be easy enough to follow

The Code

using System;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Collections;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using System.Data;

namespace WindowsApplication7
{    
    public class Form1 : System.Windows.Forms.Form
    {        
        private System.ComponentModel.Container components = null;
        private String[] arr;
        private Image[] imageArr;
        private System.Windows.Forms.ComboBox comboBox1;        
        public Font myFont;        
        
        public Form1()
        {            
            InitializeComponent();
            myFont = new System.Drawing.Font("Comic Sans", 11);
            
            arr = new String[4];
            arr[0] = "Smiley Red Face";
            arr[1] = "Smiley Cry";
            arr[2] = "Smiley Big Grin";
            arr[3]  = "Smiley Suss";
            
            this.comboBox1.DataSource = arr; //set the combo's data source to out array

            imageArr = new Image[4];

            /* I stole these images off CP. I specifically chose these images because they 
            are all little 16x16 sized gifs. If you're going to use your own images make 
            sure they are all the same size, otherwise your code won't work as advertised. 
            In that case you will have to set the DrawMode property of your combobox to 
            OwnnerDrawVariable and catch the MeasureItem event*/

            imageArr[0] = new Bitmap("C:\\smiley_redface.gif");
            imageArr[1] = new Bitmap("C:\\smiley_cry.gif");
            imageArr[2] = new Bitmap("C:\\smiley_biggrin.gif");
            imageArr[3] = new Bitmap("C:\\smiley_suss.gif");
        }        
        
        //You have your windows forms designer generated code here

        [STAThread]
        static void Main() 
        {
            Application.Run(new Form1());
        }

        private void comboBox1_DrawItem(object sender, 
                                        System.Windows.Forms.DrawItemEventArgs e)
        {    
            // Let's highlight the currently selected item like any well 
            // behaved combo box should
            e.Graphics.FillRectangle(Brushes.Bisque, e.Bounds);                
            e.Graphics.DrawString(arr[e.Index], myFont, Brushes.Blue, 
                                  new Point(imageArr[e.Index].Width*2,e.Bounds.Y));       
            e.Graphics.DrawImage(imageArr[e.Index], new Point(e.Bounds.X, e.Bounds.Y));   
            
            //is the mouse hovering over a combobox item??            
            if((e.State & DrawItemState.Focus)==0)
            {                                                    
                //this code keeps the last item drawn from having a Bisque background. 
                e.Graphics.FillRectangle(Brushes.White, e.Bounds);                    
                e.Graphics.DrawString(arr[e.Index], myFont, Brushes.Blue, 
                                      new Point(imageArr[e.Index].Width*2,e.Bounds.Y));
                e.Graphics.DrawImage(imageArr[e.Index], new Point(e.Bounds.X, e.Bounds.Y)); 
            }    
        }                                                                
    }
}

Conclusion

Ok, that's it, my very first CodeProject article, go easy on me. The code started out quite long and tedious but I whittled it down as my understanding of DrawItemEventArgs became a bit clearer. I'm not too sure if it's cool to have the ComboBox default backcolor to be anything other than white. But that seems to be more a matter of taste.

Regards, Senkwe

License

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

Senkwe Chanda
Web Developer
South Africa South Africa
Nada

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Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
manoj kumar choubey20-Feb-12 2:49
membermanoj kumar choubey20-Feb-12 2:49 
QuestionHow do I implement and host an owner drawn combobox inside DataGridView cells in C# Pin
Rodzaidi12-May-08 0:25
memberRodzaidi12-May-08 0:25 
QuestionAny plan to have Vista look for DropDownLists? Pin
Steph17x28-Sep-07 6:32
memberSteph17x28-Sep-07 6:32 
GeneralUse this technique to display enumerations with spaces Pin
Boinst16-Apr-07 0:19
memberBoinst16-Apr-07 0:19 
NewsAdvanced list box and combo box Pin
brett5630-Nov-05 6:24
memberbrett5630-Nov-05 6:24 
Like many who use The Code Project we've spent countless hours building custom controls to meet our needs. Unfortunately, it's hard to justify spending thousands of hours on a custom control unless you intend to market them.

We've just released a beta of List Controls for .NET WinForms which includes the most advanced list box and combo box controls ever built for any platform.

Sounds too good to be true? Please, confirm this statement for yourself. A beta of List Controls is available for download from our website, including a comprehensive demo and tutorial.

http://www.it-partners.com/products/list_controls_win_forms/list_controls.asp[^]

Many features, too many to list here!

Brett Werner
it-partners.com
GeneralColors in Combo Box Pin
yahya_1322-Jan-05 23:22
memberyahya_1322-Jan-05 23:22 
GeneralRe: Colors in Combo Box Pin
LongHC6-May-05 10:26
memberLongHC6-May-05 10:26 
GeneralChanges to have a kind of simple ComboTree Pin
Vejas7-Jun-04 0:00
memberVejas7-Jun-04 0:00 
GeneralShow ComboBox in Web Application Form Pin
selcanberber9-Jan-04 1:56
sussselcanberber9-Jan-04 1:56 
QuestionHow to write a check combo Pin
xalee15-Dec-03 14:45
memberxalee15-Dec-03 14:45 

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