Windows Forms Controls by Function

Windows Forms offers controls and components that perform a number of functions. The following table lists the Windows Forms controls and components according to general function. In addition, where multiple controls exist that serve the same function, the recommended control is listed with a note regarding the control it superseded. In a separate subsequent table, the superseded controls are listed with their recommended replacements.

Note

The following tables do not list every control or component you can use in Windows Forms; for a more comprehensive list, see Controls to Use on Windows Forms

Function Control Description
Data display DataGridView control The DataGridView control provides a customizable table for displaying data. The DataGridView class enables customization of cells, rows, columns, and borders. Note: The DataGridView control provides numerous basic and advanced features that are missing in the DataGrid control. For more information, see Differences Between the Windows Forms DataGridView and DataGrid Controls
Data binding and navigation BindingSource component Simplifies binding controls on a form to data by providing currency management, change notification, and other services.
BindingNavigator control Provides a toolbar-type interface to navigate and manipulate data on a form.
Text editing TextBox control Displays text entered at design time that can be edited by users at run time, or changed programmatically.
RichTextBox control Enables text to be displayed with formatting in plain text or rich-text format (RTF).
MaskedTextBox control Constrains the format of user input
Information display (read-only) Label control Displays text that users cannot directly edit.
LinkLabel control Displays text as a Web-style link and triggers an event when the user clicks the special text. Usually the text is a link to another window or a Web site.
StatusStrip control Displays information about the application's current state using a framed area, usually at the bottom of a parent form.
ProgressBar control Displays the current progress of an operation to the user.
Web page display WebBrowser control Enables the user to navigate Web pages inside your form.
Selection from a list CheckedListBox control Displays a scrollable list of items, each accompanied by a check box.
ComboBox control Displays a drop-down list of items.
DomainUpDown control Displays a list of text items that users can scroll through with up and down buttons.
ListBox control Displays a list of text and graphical items (icons).
ListView control Displays items in one of four different views. Views include text only, text with small icons, text with large icons, and a details view.
NumericUpDown control Displays a list of numerals that users can scroll through with up and down buttons.
TreeView control Displays a hierarchical collection of node objects that can consist of text with optional check boxes or icons.
Graphics display PictureBox control Displays graphical files, such as bitmaps and icons, in a frame.
Graphics storage ImageList control Serves as a repository for images. ImageList controls and the images they contain can be reused from one application to the next.
Value setting CheckBox control Displays a check box and a label for text. Generally used to set options.
CheckedListBox control Displays a scrollable list of items, each accompanied by a check box.
RadioButton control Displays a button that can be turned on or off.
TrackBar control Allows users to set values on a scale by moving a "thumb" along a scale.
Date setting DateTimePicker control Displays a graphical calendar to allow users to select a date or a time.
MonthCalendar control Displays a graphical calendar to allow users to select a range of dates.
Dialog boxes ColorDialog control Displays the color picker dialog box that allows users to set the color of an interface element.
FontDialog control Displays a dialog box that allows users to set a font and its attributes.
OpenFileDialog control Displays a dialog box that allows users to navigate to and select a file.
PrintDialog control Displays a dialog box that allows users to select a printer and set its attributes.
PrintPreviewDialog control Displays a dialog box that displays how a control PrintDocument component will appear when printed.
FolderBrowserDialog control Displays a dialog that allows users to browse, create, and eventually select a folder
SaveFileDialog control Displays a dialog box that allows users to save a file.
Menu controls MenuStrip control Creates custom menus. Note: The MenuStrip is designed to replace the MainMenu control.
ContextMenuStrip control Creates custom context menus. Note: The ContextMenuStrip is designed to replace the ContextMenu control.
Commands Button control Starts, stops, or interrupts a process.
LinkLabel control Displays text as a Web-style link and triggers an event when the user clicks the special text. Usually the text is a link to another window or a Web site.
NotifyIcon control Displays an icon in the status notification area of the taskbar that represents an application running in the background.
ToolStrip control Creates toolbars that can have a Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or custom look and feel, with or without themes, and with support for overflow and run-time item reordering. Note: The ToolStrip control is designed to replace the ToolBar control.
User Help HelpProvider component Provides pop-up or online Help for controls.
ToolTip component Provides a pop-up window that displays a brief description of a control's purpose when the user rests the pointer on the control.
Grouping other controls Panel control Groups a set of controls on an unlabeled, scrollable frame.
GroupBox control Groups a set of controls (such as radio buttons) on a labeled, nonscrollable frame.
TabControl control Provides a tabbed page for organizing and accessing grouped objects efficiently.
SplitContainer control Provides two panels separated by a movable bar. Note: The SplitContainer control is designed to replace the Splitter control.
TableLayoutPanel control Represents a panel that dynamically lays out its contents in a grid composed of rows and columns.
FlowLayoutPanel control Represents a panel that dynamically lays out its contents horizontally or vertically.
Audio SoundPlayer control Plays sound files in the .wav format. Sounds can be loaded or played asynchronously.

Superseded Controls and Components by Function

Function Superseded control Recommended replacement
Data display DataGrid DataGridView
Information Display (Read-only controls) StatusBar StatusStrip
Menu controls ContextMenu ContextMenuStrip
MainMenu MenuStrip
Commands ToolBar ToolStrip
StatusBar StatusStrip
Form layout Splitter SplitContainer

See Also

Controls to Use on Windows Forms
Developing Custom Windows Forms Controls with the .NET Framework