how to make a combobox read only?


  • Try changing the DropDownStyle property to DropDownList. This can either be done through the designer or via code.
    Monday, September 26, 2005 12:32 PM

All replies

  • Try changing the DropDownStyle property to DropDownList. This can either be done through the designer or via code.
    Monday, September 26, 2005 12:32 PM
  •  MarcD wrote:
    Try changing the DropDownStyle property to DropDownList. This can either be done through the designer or via code.

    I heard this before but, IMHO setting it to dropdownlist makes it not readonly
    because you you stil can chance the value, the best alternative is to chance enabled to false
    • Proposed as answer by Asim Amitav Friday, March 20, 2015 5:45 AM
    Monday, September 26, 2005 4:47 PM
  • Exactly, the user still has a chance to change the values.

    In my case, based on the user group, I would like to provide an option to change combo value. Though I set the combo to dropdownlist, I just leftout with an option to disable the control, which looks ugly in the form with no legibility to the content inside the combo.

    Any other solution?

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006 7:32 AM
  • I solved this once by checking if the value typed in was in the collection of added items.  If it was, I accepted the value and did further processing.  If it wasn`t in the collection, I discarded the value and stopped further processing.  Maybe this approach could help you. 

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006 12:36 PM
  • i want to make combobox read only and autocomplete
    Wednesday, July 11, 2007 5:55 AM
  • use


    ComboBox.IsEditable Property

    ComboBox.IsReadOnly Property


    Namespace : System.Windows.Controls

    Thursday, July 19, 2007 1:39 PM
  • here is one more solution i find out


    ComboBox cb = new ComboBox();
                Point p = new Point(100, 100);
                cb.Location = p;
                cb.DropDownStyle = ComboBoxStyle.DropDownList;

    • Proposed as answer by mjanz Tuesday, December 28, 2010 8:28 PM
    Thursday, July 19, 2007 2:03 PM



    Next code will make comboBox readOnly. To be more exact it will make textBox of the comboBox readOnly.


    private bool m_readOnly = false;

    private const int EM_SETREADONLY = 0x00CF;


    internal delegate bool EnumChildWindowsCallBack( IntPtr hwnd, IntPtr lParam );


    [DllImport("user32.dll", CharSet = CharSet.Auto)]

    internal static extern IntPtr SendMessage(IntPtr hWnd, int msg, IntPtr wParam, IntPtr lParam);


    [ DllImport( "user32.dll" ) ]

    internal static extern int EnumChildWindows( IntPtr hWndParent, EnumChildWindowsCallBack lpEnumFunc, IntPtr lParam );



    private bool EnumChildWindowsCallBackFunction(IntPtr hWnd, IntPtr lparam)


          if( hWnd != IntPtr.Zero )


                  IntPtr readonlyValue = ( m_readOnly ) ? new IntPtr( 1 ) : IntPtr.Zero;

                 SendMessage( hWnd, EM_SETREADONLY, readonlyValue, IntPtr.Zero );


                 return true;


           return false;



    private void MakeComboBoxReadOnly( bool readOnly )


    m_readOnly = readOnly;

    EnumChildWindowsCallBack callBack = new EnumChildWindowsCallBack( this.EnumChildWindowsCallBackFunction );

    EnumChildWindows( comboBox1.Handle, callBack, IntPtr.Zero );


    Friday, December 21, 2007 12:36 PM
  • I found the best way is to create an ExtenderProvider for the combo box whereas inside you change the dropdownstyle to simple and trap all keystrokes.  You'll need to rebuild the project after you add the ReadOnlyComboProvider class.  Then simply drag one of these from the toolbox onto your form and set the properties via a property window or via code.


    Here's the code for the extender Provider:


    Option Explicit On

    Option Strict On

    Option Compare Text

    Imports System.ComponentModel

    Imports System.Windows.Forms


    <Drawing.ToolboxBitmap(GetType(System.Windows.Forms.TextBox)), _

    System.ComponentModel.DesignerCategoryAttribute("Code"), _

    ProvideProperty("ReadOnly", GetType(Control)), _

    ProvideProperty("OrigDropDownStyle", GetType(Control))> _

    Public Class ReadOnlyComboProvider

    Inherits System.ComponentModel.Component

    Implements IExtenderProvider

    'This hash table stores all the controls extended by this extender provider

    Friend htProvidedProperties As New Hashtable

    #Region "IExtenderProvider"

    ''' <summary>

    ''' The Property should be Extend / Not for the TextBox classes

    ''' </summary>

    ''' <param name="extendee"></param>

    ''' <returns></returns>

    ''' <remarks></remarks>

    Public Function CanExtend(ByVal extendee As Object) As Boolean Implements System.ComponentModel.IExtenderProvider.CanExtend

    If TypeOf extendee Is ComboBox Then

    Return True


    Return False

    End If

    End Function

    #End Region

    #Region "Extensible Properties"

    Private Class ComboBoxProperties

    Public IsReadOnly As Boolean = False

    Public OrigComboBoxStyle As ComboBoxStyle = ComboBoxStyle.DropDown

    End Class

    <Category("Read Only Combobox Provider")> _

    Sub SetReadOnly(ByVal ctrl As Control, ByVal value As Boolean)

    Dim cbo As ComboBox = CType(ctrl, ComboBox)

    If value = True Then

    cbo.DropDownStyle = ComboBoxStyle.Simple


    cbo.DropDownStyle = GetControlFromHashtable(ctrl).OrigComboBoxStyle

    End If

    GetControlFromHashtable(ctrl).IsReadOnly = value

    End Sub

    <Category("Read Only Combobox Provider")> _

    Function GetReadOnly(ByVal ctrl As Control) As Boolean

    Return GetControlFromHashtable(ctrl).IsReadOnly

    End Function

    <Category("Read Only Combobox Provider")> _

    Sub SetOrigDropDownStyle(ByVal ctrl As Control, ByVal value As ComboBoxStyle)

    GetControlFromHashtable(ctrl).OrigComboBoxStyle = value

    End Sub

    <Category("Read Only Combobox Provider")> _

    Function GetOrigDropDownStyle(ByVal ctrl As Control) As ComboBoxStyle

    Return GetControlFromHashtable(ctrl).OrigComboBoxStyle

    End Function

    #End Region

    #Region "Behavior"

    Private Function GetControlFromHashtable(ByVal ctrl As Control) As ComboBoxProperties

    If htProvidedProperties.Contains(ctrl) Then

    Return DirectCast(htProvidedProperties(ctrl), ComboBoxProperties)


    Dim ProvidedProperties As New ComboBoxProperties

    'Add A KeyPress Event Handler as the control is added to hash table

    AddHandler ctrl.KeyPress, AddressOf KeyPressHandler

    htProvidedProperties.Add(ctrl, ProvidedProperties)

    Return ProvidedProperties

    End If

    End Function

    Private Sub KeyPressHandler(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As KeyPressEventArgs)

    Dim cboSender As ComboBox = CType(sender, ComboBox)

    If GetControlFromHashtable(cboSender).IsReadOnly = True Then

    e.Handled = True


    e.Handled = False

    End If

    End Sub

    #End Region

    End Class


    Here's the code example to make the combobox readonly via code:


    Note: This works similiarly to tooltips...


    Me.ReadOnlyComboProvider1.SetReadOnly(myComboBox, False)


    Me.ReadOnlyComboProvider1.SetReadOnly(myComboBox, True)



    Thursday, May 22, 2008 6:11 PM
  • Hi,


    I am using framwork 2.0 and I could't fınd System.Windows.Controls.dll to give referances from my project.



    Thursday, July 10, 2008 1:30 PM
  • The best solution I have seen is to disable the box only for the short moment when it is entered.

    That will make it behave exactly the same as if it was read only.




    private void comboBox1_Enter(object sender, EventArgs e)


    comboBox1.Enabled = false;

    comboBox1.Enabled = true;



    • Proposed as answer by JP14 Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:42 PM
    Wednesday, August 06, 2008 10:49 AM
  • Rance Downer

    The Code you provided Seems to work great for locking a combo box.

    however it doesn't seem to unlock the combobox. am I missing something?

    By the way kudo's for the best solution I have seen so far to this Fiasco by microsoft in eliminating the Locked(readonly) selection from comboboxes.




    Friday, August 29, 2008 3:38 PM
  • This really *is* a fiasco! Several dozen lines of code just to sort out the simple 'combobox.readonly=true'!!!

    What on earth would MS overlook this?! Surely there must be a reason?

    Friday, February 13, 2009 10:58 AM
  • This was the simplest mechanism to achieve what I wanted, thanks for the tip, I used it on ToolStripComboBox
    Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:43 PM
  • i'm not sure what we are trying to do here. Why do we want to make the combo box read only? If We just want the users to only input values from the combo box items only, setting the DropDownStyle to DropDownList will do the job. Why do we need to write a bunch of code? Please correct me if I'm missing something here.

    Cannot stop learning.
    Thursday, December 17, 2009 6:12 PM
  • Hi Le,

    Here's an example of when the "Locked" property of VB6/VBA was useful:

    Imagine you have a form populated with textboxes, comboboxes etc. You want this form to be presented to the user in "Read-only" mode when a record is first loaded from data. Then, if the user clicks an "Edit" button on the form, the controls become "Read-Write"; when they click a "Save" button, the data is saved and the controls revert to being "Read-only".

    Without a "Locked" property, this kind of user interaction becomes more difficult. In the case of comboboxes, you don't want the user to be able to change the selected item unless they are in "Read-Write" mode.


    Ian Digby
    Friday, January 08, 2010 12:54 PM
  • There are many reasons why one would want a ComboBox to be readOnly...  Two of those are:

    1) If a ComboBox is readonly the user is still able to select the text within the comboBox so that they may select/copy text.  

    2)You may want to allow the user to select the ContextMenu for the ComboBox.

    Both of these options are not available if the ComboBox is disabled... Why Microsoft would not provide a ReadOnly property is beyond me... what a pain in the a$$.
    Monday, March 08, 2010 10:55 PM
  • Some really good answers in that I used that's really simple is to train your users to not type in comboboxes!

    On the KeyDown event for your combo box, give them a message to choose one of the items and remove whatever text they typed (which will only be one letter...)

    For instance:

    Private Sub ValidateDropDownSelection(ByVal cmb As ComboBox)
            Dim s As String
            s = cmb.Text
            MsgBox("Hey User! Please choose an item from the Drop Down list", MsgBoxStyle.OkOnly)
            cmb.Text = s
        End Sub
    Private Sub cmbCG_KeyDown(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.KeyEventArgs) Handles cmbCG.KeyDown
        End Sub
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 12:46 PM
  • This works for me (sort of on the same theme as Sharp Tea):

    void comboBox_Enter(object sender, EventArgs e)



        this.SelectNextControl(comboBox, true, true, false, true);


    You may want to also set the BackColor property to match a ReadOnly TextBox's BackColor for consistency.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 6:59 PM
  • hi

    i want to make the combo box readonly
    what should i do?

    thank u

    hi every one :)

    i have Idea:


    Public Class frmRegister
        Public s As String = ""

        Private Sub frmRegister_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load
            Dim d As DataSet = classFun.viewofalluser
            BindingSource1.DataSource = d.Tables(0)
            ComboBox1.DataSource = BindingSource1
            ComboBox1.ValueMember = "uid"
            ComboBox1.DisplayMember = "fullname"

        End Sub


        Private Sub ComboBox1_GotFocus(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles ComboBox1.GotFocus

            s= ComboBox1.Text
        End Sub


        Private Sub ComboBox1_TextUpdate(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles ComboBox1.TextUpdate
            ComboBox1.Text = s
            MessageBox.Show("Dont Change !!")
        End Sub



    Thursday, September 02, 2010 12:02 PM
  • It's not the most elegant way, but the way I solve this, is to make a new ComboBox class, derived from ComboBox, with an List of objects and a boolean indicating if the status is readonly.

    Then I've made a method setReadonly, in which I copy all the values currently in Items to List of objects, then I clear all the items, and I add only the previeously SelectedItem. ComboBoxStyle=DropDownList, so the effect of this, is that no other value can be selected, because there is only one item in the list.

    When setReadonly is called with false, I again clear the items, fill it with all the items in the List of object, and make SelectedItem the only value previously in the ComboBox.


    Wednesday, October 06, 2010 4:12 PM
  • Hello People, you've done a lot of code :D

    My method for read-only combo-box:



    private void comboBox1_KeyPress(object sender, KeyPressEventArgs e)
                e.KeyChar = (char)0;



    best regards :)


    • Proposed as answer by Levent Mahan Friday, December 24, 2010 2:09 PM
    Friday, October 15, 2010 6:20 AM
  • Messages must be added to uses tab..


    SendMessage(GetWindow(ComboBox1.Handle,GW_CHILD), EM_SETREADONLY, 1, 0);


    Friday, December 24, 2010 2:10 PM
  • hi

    i want to make the combo box readonly
    what should i do?

    thank u

    I put a label over the combobox.

    is read only = combobox.sendtoback

    not read only = combobox.bringtofront

    do you need "copy" use read only textbox

    Thursday, March 10, 2011 5:06 PM
  • This has been fixed in 2010, however if you are still running 2008 or earlier, implement this code after double clicking the combo box. (Visual studio auto-creates a function for you)


            private void cboRTD_Units_SelectedIndexChanged(object sender, EventArgs e)
                cboRTD_Units.Enabled = false;
                cboRTD_Units.Enabled = true;



    That's it... works like a charm! GL

    Wednesday, May 04, 2011 12:58 PM
  • Hello,

    Not sure where it is fixed in 2010 as the way I see the issue is to not allow the user to change a combo box selection yet keep the same look and feel as the original item.  

    Without overwriting the control I created a boolean that is global to the page.  Then a second variable to save the selected value.  On form load set the selected value variable.  Then set the read only variable when needed.  In the combo box _SelectedIndexChanged check your read only variable.  If it's true, reset the combo box to the original value and exit the sub.


    Dim gComboBoxValue As Integer 
    Dim gComboBoxIsReadOnly As Boolean
    Private Sub frm_Load(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Me.Load 
     cboComboBox.SelectedValue = SomeValue 
     gComboBoxValue = SomeValue 
     gComboBoxIsReadOnly = True
    End Sub 
    Private Sub cboComboBox_SelectedIndexChanged(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles cboComboBox.SelectedIndexChanged 
     IfgComboBoxIsReadOnly Then
      cboComboBox.SelectedValue = gComboBoxValue
      Exit Sub
     End If 
    Exit Sub

    • Proposed as answer by billynoise Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:42 PM
    Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:28 PM
  • It's been sometime since the question was asked but for those who still need an answer I found the following pretty helpful:

    ComboBox1.TabStop = false;
    ComboBox1.Enter += new EventHandler(cmbPlatform_Enter);

    void ComboBox1_Enter(object sender, EventArgs e)


    TabStop is false to make the Tab key behavior normal while the EventHandler should handle the case where the user manually enters the combobox.

    Thursday, December 01, 2011 7:29 AM
  • Add ComboBox.KeyPress event and in the event handle input by writing the following:

    e.Handled = true;

    • Proposed as answer by kuklei Saturday, April 28, 2012 3:58 AM
    Saturday, April 21, 2012 7:13 AM
  • for me best answer was this:

    Private Sub Combo_gotfocus(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.RoutedEventArgs) Handles ComboBox1.GotFocus
            If ComboBox1.IsReadOnly Then
                ComboBox1.IsEnabled = False
            End If
        End Sub
        Private Sub combo_lostfocus(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.RoutedEventArgs) Handles ComboBox1.LostFocus
            If ComboBox1.IsReadOnly Then
                ComboBox1.IsEnabled = True
            End If
        End Sub

    Nothing is Impossible

    • Edited by Saman Saadat Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:58 AM miss typing
    Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:57 AM
  • private void ReadOnlyComboBox_KeyPress(object sender, KeyPressEventArgs e)
                e.Handled = true;

    very neat. Excellent solution arunavasaha.

    p.s. if you need to make it look like readonly textbox you need also to change the color of the combobox, of course

    Saturday, April 28, 2012 4:00 AM
  • you may use below Code Snippet if you use C++/CLI[ .Net framework 2.0 ]

    this->cmbbx1->DropDownStyle = System::Windows::Forms::ComboBoxStyle::DropDownList;

    • Edited by PraveerK Friday, January 22, 2016 9:29 AM
    Friday, January 22, 2016 9:28 AM
  • It is difficult to understand why a programming language has to be so incredible complicated, even for very simple tasks like this. It makes the realisation of creative programming projects quite an arduous task. 
    Wednesday, June 14, 2017 9:49 PM