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How to use intelli-sense in ComboBox Control

Author: DevASP
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In this article I will try to explain you how you can use intelli-sense in ComboBox Control. Here I will create sample application using Visual Basic.Net (VB.Net).

ComboBox is a combination of a TextBox and a ListBox. The ComboBox displays an editing field (TextBox) combined with a ListBox allowing us to select from the list or to enter new text. ComboBox displays data in a drop-down style format. The ComboBox class is derived from the ListBox class.


To start working with this application follow the following steps:

·         Create a new project in Visual Studio 2005 (VS2005).

·         Start a new window application by clicking on the ‘FILE’ menu and then on the ‘PROJECT’. A window will be displayed asking to select the type of your project, name of the project and location of the project. Enter this information and click ‘OK’ to start a new window application.

·         Drag and Drop ComboBox control on window form from your toolbar.

·         Select the ComboBox control by single clicking on it.

·         If the properties window is not displayed, go to view menu and click properties window or simply press F4 to display the properties window.

·         Set the name property to ‘cmbAutoComplete’ in the properties window.

·         Drop two Checkboxes on the form. Set their name in the properties window as ‘cbAutoComplete’ & ‘cbLimitToList’ and their text property to ‘Auto Complete’ and ‘Limit to List’ respectively.

·         Press F7 or select the form in solution explorer and click at ‘view code’ button in solution explorer to open the code window.

·         Go to InitilizeComponent() call.

·         Write the following code after the InitializeComponent() call. This code in necessary to fill the ComboBox control with the values. Let say for example the names of USA Cities/States:







·         Write the following function to implement the auto complete functionality.


Public Sub AutoComplete(ByRef cb As ComboBox, _

  ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.KeyPressEventArgs, _

  Optional ByVal blnLimitToList As Boolean = False)


Dim strFindStr As String


If e.KeyChar = Chr(8) Then 'Check For Backspace

  If cb.SelectionStart <= 1 Then

     cb.Text = ""

     Exit Sub

  End If


If cb.SelectionLength = 0 Then

   strFindStr = cb.Text.Substring(0, cb.Text.Length - 1)


   strFindStr = cb.Text.Substring(0, cb.SelectionStart - 1)

 End If




If cb.SelectionLength = 0 Then

   strFindStr = cb.Text & e.KeyChar


   strFindStr = cb.Text.Substring(0, cb.SelectionStart) & e.KeyChar

End If

End If


Dim intIdx As Integer = -1


‘Search the string in the ComboBox List.

intIdx = cb.FindString(strFindStr)


If intIdx <> -1 Then ' String found in the List.


 cb.SelectedText = ""

 cb.SelectedIndex = intIdx

 cb.SelectionStart = strFindStr.Length

 cb.SelectionLength = cb.Text.Length

 e.Handled = True




If blnLimitToList = True Then


   e.Handled = True



   e.Handled = False


End If

End If

End Sub

·         Call this function in the KeyPress event of the ComboBox as below.


If cbAutoComplete.Checked = True Then

 If cbLimitToList.Checked = True Then

    AutoComplete(cmbAutoComplete, e, True)


    AutoComplete(cmbAutoComplete, e, False)

 End If

End If

·         Run your application and check this functionality.

Article Comments
This is very helpful bt it i want one more thing in this. I want to not to accept those items wich are not listed in the combo.

Posted on 4/9/2007 2:28:51 AM by vikas

hi... kindly give me some program codes bout library system or give me some example of your design together with the codes, i need it for our defense. thanks a lot.. i need ur reply asap

Posted on 2/1/2008 12:44:31 PM by janus chagas

I have problem with
cb.SelectionLength says it isn't a member of

Posted on 4/29/2008 12:02:54 PM by Adrian

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