Click here to Skip to main content
12,754,067 members (32,984 online)
Click here to Skip to main content
Add your own
alternative version

Tagged as


523 bookmarked
Posted 11 Apr 2012

Easily Add a Ribbon into a WinForms Application (C#)

, 23 Jan 2013 Ms-PL
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
Easily add ribbon to WinForm Application for .NET Framework 2.0, 3.5, 4.0 & 4.5
This is an old version of the currently published article.
  • Download Contents: Precompile DLL, Source Code and Demo App, ThemeBuilder 
  • Supports Visual Studio 2008, 2010, 2012 
  • Supports .NET Framework 2.0, 3.5 4.0, 4.5
  • Released on 13 Jan 2013  

 Note: This released vesion (13Jan2013) contains a ThemeBuilder which enables Ribbon to load/change Theme Easily. See ThemeBuilderForm inside the Demo. 


Part 1: Background 

The ribbon that is going to be used in this article is an open source project created by Jose Menendez Poo. However, the original author of the ribbon has stopped support of it. A group of fans of this ribbon re-host and continue to develop/enhance and support the ribbon. 

The original ribbon creator has posted an article explaining what this ribbon is all about at here: [A Professional Ribbon You Will Use (Now with orb!)]. However, that article doesn't describe how to use it in your project. Therefore, this article will show how to use it.

Old Site: (By original author, but has stopped support) 

New Site: (Re-host by fans of the ribbon) 

The latest released ribbon (10 Jan 2013) supports

  • Visual Studio 2008, 2010 and 2012. 
  • .NET Framework 2.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 

Part 2: How to Use this Ribbon Control    

Reminder: Please note that this ribbon does not work on .Net 3.5 Client Profile and .NET 4.0 Client Profile. You have to switch the target framework to .NET 3.5 or .NET 4.0. When you first create a project, Visual Studio might initially set the target framework to Client Profile

1. Get System.Windows.Forms.Ribbon35.dll from download.

2. Create a blank WinForms project.

3. Add Ribbon into Visual Studio Toolbox.

Right Click on Toolbox > Add Tab.

Give the new tab a name "Ribbon".

Right Click on the New Tab [Ribbon] > Choose Items...

[Browse...] Where are you? System.Windows.Forms.Ribbon35.dl?

There you are... Gotcha... Select it...

Only [Ribbon] can be dragged into Form. Others, as the picture below said, they are not needed to exist in toolbox. However, its not going to harm your computer or project if you select all the items belongs to ribbon (by default). Its up to you.

And finally, what you're going to do is just...

Another Way

Manually code it behind.

You can add the ribbon into WinForm too with code behind.

Add a reference of  System.Windows.Forms.Ribbon35.dll into your project. Build the the solution.  

Open the designer of Main Form. In this example, Form1.Designer.cs.

Add these three lines of code 

private System.Windows.Forms.Ribbon ribbon1;
ribbon1 = new System.Windows.Forms.Ribbon();

into Form1.Designer.cs 

private void InitializeComponent()
    ribbon1 = new System.Windows.Forms.Ribbon();
    this.components = new System.ComponentModel.Container();
    this.AutoScaleMode = System.Windows.Forms.AutoScaleMode.Font;
    this.Text = "Form1";
private System.Windows.Forms.Ribbon ribbon1; 

Save and Close Form1.Designer.cs.  

Double click and open Form1.cs, and now the Ribbon control is added into the main form.


Lets continue... 

4. Click on the Ribbon and click Add Tab.  

5. Click on the newly added RibbonTab, then click Add Panel.

6. Click on the newly added RibbonPanel, go to Properties. You will see a set of available controls that can be added to the RibbonPanel.

You might not able to see the extra command links of "Add Button", "Add ButtonList", "Add ItemGroup"... etc at the Properties Explorer.  


Right click at the Properties Explorer and Tick/Check the [Commands].  



7. Try to add some buttons into the RibbonPanel.

8. Click on the RibbonButton, go to Properties

9. Let's try to change the image and the label text of the button.

10. This is how your ribbon looks like now.

11. Now, create the click event for the buttons. Click on RibbonButton, go to Properties, modify the Name of the button.

12. Click on the RibbonButton, go to properties > Click on Events > Double Click on event of Click


Or you can add it manually at code behind, open the code for Form1.cs.

This is what we have initially:  

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

namespace WindowsFormsApplication1
    public partial class Form1 : Form
        public Form1()

13. Add the Button's Clicked event for the RibbonButton.

public Form1()
    cmdNew.Click += new EventHandler(cmdNew_Click);
    cmdSave.Click += new EventHandler(cmdSave_Click);

void cmdNew_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
    MessageBox.Show("Button \"New\" Clicked.");

void cmdSave_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
    MessageBox.Show("Button \"Save\" Clicked.");

14. Press F5 to run the application. Done.

15. You might want to inherit your Main Form into a RibbonForm to have extra features. Such as:

Note: Inherit the Main Form to RibbonForm will have some compatibility problems with some of the System.Windows.Forms controls. (especially MDI Client Control) 

16. In the code for Form1.cs, change inheritance of Form this line:

public partial class Form1 : Form

to RibbonForm 

public partial class Form1 : RibbonForm

Part 3: Caution While Using With Visual Studio 2010 

... deleted .... 

Part 4: Using this Ribbon with an MDI Enabled WinForm 

The following guide will show how to apply this ribbon with an MDI (Multi Document Interface) enabled WinForm. 


  1. Let's first create a Ribbon application with the edited System.Windows.Forms.Ribbon.dll like this. Don't inherit the MainForm (the form that contains the ribbon control) with RibbonForm. Inheritance of RibbonForm is not compatible with the MDI client control.
  2. Create the Click event for the ribbon buttons.
  3. public partial class MainForm : Form
        public MainForm()
            cmdCloseForm.Click += new EventHandler(cmdCloseForm_Click);
            cmdForm1.Click += new EventHandler(cmdForm1_Click);
            cmdForm2.Click += new EventHandler(cmdForm2_Click);
            cmdWelcome.Click += new EventHandler(cmdWelcome_Click);
        void cmdWelcome_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        void cmdForm2_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        void cmdForm1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        void cmdCloseForm_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
  4. Next, set the MainForm's properties of IsMdiContainer to True.
  5. Create a few forms that needs to be opened in MainForm's MDI. You can name them anything, of course, but we take these as examples:
    • Form1.cs
    • Form2.cs
    • WelcomeForm.cs

    and the codes we use to open the forms in MDI might look like this:

    void cmdForm1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        Form1 f1 = new Form1();
        f1.MdiParent = this;
        f1.ControlBox = false;
        f1.MaximizeBox = false;
        f1.MinimizeBox = false;
        f1.WindowState = FormWindowState.Maximized;
  6. These forms run normally, but you will notice there is an annoying Control Box appearing at the top of the Ribbon Bar control.
  7. To get rid of the Control Box, we need to rearrange these codes in the correct sequence.
  8. f1.ControlBox = false;
    f1.FormBorderStyle = System.Windows.Forms.FormBorderStyle.None
    f1.MaximizeBox = false;
    f1.MinimizeBox = false;
    f1.WindowState = FormWindowState.Maximized;
  9. First, we create another form named MdiChildForm.cs. Open the designer for MdiChildForm.
  10. Add the below code to MdiChildForm.Designer.cs at the right sequence:
  11. this.WindowState = System.Windows.Forms.FormWindowState.Normal;
    this.ControlBox = false;
    this.FormBorderStyle = System.Windows.Forms.FormBorderStyle.None;
    this.MaximizeBox = false;
    this.MinimizeBox = false;

    In the Load event of MdiChildForm, add this:

    public partial class MdiChildForm : Form
        public MdiChildForm()
            this.Load += new System.EventHandler(this.MdiChildForm_Load);
        private void MdiChildForm_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
            this.ControlBox = false;
            this.WindowState = FormWindowState.Maximized;
  12. Save and close MdiChildForm.cs and MdiChildForm.Designer.cs.
  13. Modify all forms (forms that will be loading in MainForm.cs's MDI) to inherit MdiChildForm.
  14. Form1.cs

    Change this:

    public partial class Form1 : Form

    to this:

    public partial class Form1 : MdiChildForm


    Change this:

    public partial class Form2: Form

    to this:

    public partial class Form2: MdiChildForm


    Change this:

    public partial class WelcomForm: Form

    to this:

    public partial class WelcomForm: MdiChildForm
  15. Open forms and load it into the MDI client of MainForm.
  16. public partial class MainForm : Form
        MdiClient mdi = null;
        public Form1()
            foreach (Control c in this.Controls)
                if (c is MdiClient)
                    mdi = (MdiClient)c;
            cmdCloseForm.Click += new EventHandler(cmdCloseForm_Click);
            cmdForm1.Click += new EventHandler(cmdForm1_Click);
            cmdForm2.Click += new EventHandler(cmdForm2_Click);
            cmdWelcome.Click += new EventHandler(cmdWelcome_Click);
        private void LoadForm(object form)
            foreach (Form f in mdi.MdiChildren)
            if (form == null)
            ((Form)form).MdiParent = this;
        void cmdWelcome_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
            LoadForm(new WelcomForm());
        void cmdForm2_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
            LoadForm(new Form2());
        void cmdForm1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
            LoadForm(new Form1());
        void cmdCloseForm_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
  17. Done

Part 5: Alternative Ribbon 

You may also want to have a look at:

Part 6: How to Make a New Theme, Skin for this Ribbon Programmatically 

Default Theme

Example color theme of RibbonProfesionalRendererColorTableBlack.cs (ready made by ribbon author).

Another custom theme


Note: A Theme Builder is included in the Demo App, you can obtain it at Download. You can Build new Theme easily with Theme Builder. In new released, Ribbon (13 Jan 2013), Ribbon can write and read a theme file. Read more: How to Create and Load Theme File. 
  1. To make your own color theme, create another class and inherit RibbonProfesionalRendererColorTable. 
  2. Change all the color objects into your desired colors. 
  3. Example: (the first five colors have been filled for your reference).
  4. In this example, we'll name the new theme MyCoolThemeSkin.

    using System;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using System.Text;
    using System.Drawing;
    namespace System.Windows.Forms
        public class MyCoolThemeSkin
            : RibbonProfesionalRendererColorTable
            public MyCoolThemeSkin()
                #region Fields
                OrbDropDownDarkBorder = Color.Yellow;
                OrbDropDownLightBorder = Color.FromKnownColor(KnownColor.WindowFrame);
                OrbDropDownBack = Color.FromName("Red");
                OrbDropDownNorthA = FromHex("#C2FF3D");
                OrbDropDownNorthB = Color.FromArgb(201, 100, 150);
                OrbDropDownNorthC = 
                OrbDropDownNorthD = 
                OrbDropDownSouthC = 
                OrbDropDownSouthD = 
                OrbDropDownContentbg = 
                OrbDropDownContentbglight = 
                OrbDropDownSeparatorlight = 
                OrbDropDownSeparatordark = 
                Caption1 = 
                Caption2 = 
                Caption3 = 
                Caption4 = 
                Caption5 = 
                Caption6 = 
                Caption7 = 
                QuickAccessBorderDark = 
                QuickAccessBorderLight = 
                QuickAccessUpper = 
                QuickAccessLower = 
                OrbOptionBorder = 
                OrbOptionBackground = 
                OrbOptionShine = 
                Arrow = 
                ArrowLight = 
                ArrowDisabled = 
                Text = 
                RibbonBackground = 
                TabBorder = 
                TabNorth = 
                TabSouth = 
                TabGlow = 
                TabText = 
                TabActiveText = 
                TabContentNorth = 
                TabContentSouth = 
                TabSelectedGlow = 
                PanelDarkBorder = 
                PanelLightBorder = 
                PanelTextBackground = 
                PanelTextBackgroundSelected = 
                PanelText = 
                PanelBackgroundSelected = 
                PanelOverflowBackground = 
                PanelOverflowBackgroundPressed = 
                PanelOverflowBackgroundSelectedNorth = 
                PanelOverflowBackgroundSelectedSouth = 
                ButtonBgOut = 
                ButtonBgCenter = 
                ButtonBorderOut = 
                ButtonBorderIn = 
                ButtonGlossyNorth = 
                ButtonGlossySouth = 
                ButtonDisabledBgOut = 
                ButtonDisabledBgCenter = 
                ButtonDisabledBorderOut = 
                ButtonDisabledBorderIn = 
                ButtonDisabledGlossyNorth = 
                ButtonDisabledGlossySouth = 
                ButtonSelectedBgOut = 
                ButtonSelectedBgCenter = 
                ButtonSelectedBorderOut = 
                ButtonSelectedBorderIn = 
                ButtonSelectedGlossyNorth = 
                ButtonSelectedGlossySouth = 
                ButtonPressedBgOut = 
                ButtonPressedBgCenter = 
                ButtonPressedBorderOut = 
                ButtonPressedBorderIn = 
                ButtonPressedGlossyNorth = 
                ButtonPressedGlossySouth = 
                ButtonCheckedBgOut = 
                ButtonCheckedBgCenter = 
                ButtonCheckedBorderOut = 
                ButtonCheckedBorderIn = 
                ButtonCheckedGlossyNorth = 
                ButtonCheckedGlossySouth = 
                ItemGroupOuterBorder = 
                ItemGroupInnerBorder = 
                ItemGroupSeparatorLight = 
                ItemGroupSeparatorDark = 
                ItemGroupBgNorth = 
                ItemGroupBgSouth = 
                ItemGroupBgGlossy = 
                ButtonListBorder = 
                ButtonListBg = 
                ButtonListBgSelected = 
                DropDownBg = 
                DropDownImageBg = 
                DropDownImageSeparator = 
                DropDownBorder = 
                DropDownGripNorth = 
                DropDownGripSouth = 
                DropDownGripBorder = 
                DropDownGripDark = 
                DropDownGripLight = 
                SeparatorLight = 
                SeparatorDark = 
                SeparatorBg = 
                SeparatorLine = 
                TextBoxUnselectedBg = 
                TextBoxBorder = 
            public Color FromHex(string hex)
                if (hex.StartsWith("#"))
                    hex = hex.Substring(1);
                if (hex.Length != 6) throw new Exception("Color not valid");
                return Color.FromArgb(
                    int.Parse(hex.Substring(0, 2), system.Globalization.NumberStyles.HexNumber),
                    int.Parse(hex.Substring(2, 2), System.Globalization.NumberStyles.HexNumber),
                    int.Parse(hex.Substring(4, 2), System.Globalization.NumberStyles.HexNumber));
  5. Then, in the Load event of MainForm.cs, add this line:
  6. namespace RibbonDemo
        public partial class MainForm : RibbonForm
            public MainForm()
            private void ChangeTheme()
                (ribbon1.Renderer as RibbonProfessionalRenderer).ColorTable = 
                    new MyCoolThemeSkin();

Article Change Log:

13 Jan 2013 

  • Release of Version 13 Jan 2013 (Include a ThemeBuilder

10 Jan 2013 

  • Release of Version 10 Jan 2013 

02 Jan 2013 

  • Introduce new compiled version of ribbon, released on 10 Jan 2012. 
31 Dec 2012

  • Part 2: Guide added for using the ribbon in Visual Studio 2012 

27 Apr 2012
  • Content added: Part 6: How to Make a New Theme, Skin for this Ribbon Programmatically
15 Apr 2012
  • Content added: Part 1: Background - Emphasize that Ribbon applicable on .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.0 
14 Apr 2012
  • Content added: Part 2: Step 3 - Added second method to add Ribbon into Form  
12 Apr 2012
  • Content added: Part 4: Using this Ribbon with MDI Enabled WinForm   
11 Apr 2012
  • Initial release.  


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)


About the Author

Software Developer
Malaysia Malaysia
Writing programs is an art.

You may also be interested in...


Comments and Discussions

Discussions posted for the Published version of this article. Posting a message here will take you to the publicly available article in order to continue your conversation in public.
QuestionRibbonButtons keep showing focus if you drag from them Pin
AndrewInEssex8-Feb-17 7:53
memberAndrewInEssex8-Feb-17 7:53 
AnswerRe: RibbonButtons keep showing focus if you drag from them Pin
AndrewInEssex21-Feb-17 2:47
memberAndrewInEssex21-Feb-17 2:47 
Generalprivate ribbon Pin
kh2tech24-Dec-16 2:30
professionalkh2tech24-Dec-16 2:30 
QuestionCopy to Another Computer Pin
Shawn Kanyer12-Dec-16 14:29
memberShawn Kanyer12-Dec-16 14:29 
QuestionCould not load file or assembly Pin
sidali.kadi9-Dec-16 11:33
membersidali.kadi9-Dec-16 11:33 
QuestionMousewheel on Combos Pin
Member 1229590525-Nov-16 0:11
memberMember 1229590525-Nov-16 0:11 
AnswerRe: Mousewheel on Combos Pin
Member 1229590525-Nov-16 0:49
memberMember 1229590525-Nov-16 0:49 
QuestionMessage Removed Pin
Jan Netopil4-Sep-16 4:25
memberJan Netopil4-Sep-16 4:25 
QuestionEnable or disable tabs in case of MDI project Pin
Member 1269446130-Aug-16 1:37
memberMember 1269446130-Aug-16 1:37 
Questionhow to call event button click from mdiParent Pin
Member 1264197818-Jul-16 21:28
memberMember 1264197818-Jul-16 21:28 
QuestionUpDown Pin
CNuke13-May-16 3:13
memberCNuke13-May-16 3:13 
QuestionThank you Pin
Mandeep830-Apr-16 4:02
memberMandeep830-Apr-16 4:02 
PraiseGreat facility Pin
Member 1227789630-Jan-16 7:39
memberMember 1227789630-Jan-16 7:39 
Questionrefresh RecentItems Pin
Member 966669815-Dec-15 4:49
memberMember 966669815-Dec-15 4:49 
Questioncontextual tab Pin
LegecyWolf12-Oct-15 1:51
memberLegecyWolf12-Oct-15 1:51 
AnswerRe: contextual tab Pin
toATwork12-Oct-15 2:07
membertoATwork12-Oct-15 2:07 
GeneralRe: contextual tab Pin
LegecyWolf12-Oct-15 8:06
memberLegecyWolf12-Oct-15 8:06 
AnswerRe: contextual tab Pin
toATwork12-Oct-15 22:56
membertoATwork12-Oct-15 22:56 
Questionresize image button on ribbon Pin
enricho7-Oct-15 6:00
memberenricho7-Oct-15 6:00 
QuestionThemes not working? Pin
crazyrobban26-Aug-15 23:00
membercrazyrobban26-Aug-15 23:00 
AnswerRe: Themes not working? Pin
toATwork26-Aug-15 23:16
membertoATwork26-Aug-15 23:16 
Questionselecting ribbon buttons using keyboard Tab Pin
Member 1021291220-Aug-15 2:52
professionalMember 1021291220-Aug-15 2:52 
QuestionGot an error...invalid window handle... Pin
Sarath Jayachandran2-Aug-15 5:20
memberSarath Jayachandran2-Aug-15 5:20 
AnswerRe: Got an error...invalid window handle... Pin
toATwork23-Aug-15 22:06
membertoATwork23-Aug-15 22:06 
QuestionButtonMore can not show in "OrbStyle = Office_2013" when MouseHover in ButtonMore area Pin
Nguyễn Văn Lượng25-Jul-15 7:15
memberNguyễn Văn Lượng25-Jul-15 7:15 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Praise Praise    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

Permalink | Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web02 | 2.8.170217.1 | Last Updated 23 Jan 2013
Article Copyright 2012 by adriancs
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2017
Layout: fixed | fluid