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.NET Windows Forms in a Nutshell by Matthew Adams, Ian Griffiths

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Chapter 8. Property Grids

Many applications need to present sets of information that can be edited. The data could be patient details in a healthcare system, shape attributes in a drawing program, control properties in a form designer, or any number of other kinds of information. Windows Forms provides a control that makes presenting and editing such data easy, while allowing great flexibility in the way in which information is presented—the PropertyGrid control.

Visual Studio .NET itself uses the PropertyGrid control to present properties for all controls and other components in the Forms Designer. This means that even if you don’t plan to use a PropertyGrid directly in your own applications, it is helpful to have a good understanding of how it works so you may control the way your components’ properties are presented. Visual Studio .NET lets you customize the appearance of the property pages for your components using the techniques described here.

In this chapter, we will start by looking at how to display the properties of a simple object in a PropertyGrid. Then, we will see how to enable editing of custom types by using type converters. Finally, we will see how to add our own custom property editing user interfaces for when a text-based representation is insufficient.

Displaying Simple Objects

The PropertyGrid makes it remarkably easy to provide an interface for editing the properties of an object. It uses the CLR’s reflection facility to discover what properties are available ...

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