Home > Articles > Programming > User Interface (UI)

This chapter is from the book

Working with the DataGrid Control

The DataGrid control displays data in a tabular form. The control can be bound to a data table or a collection. The .NET Compact Framework's DataGrid control provides a limited subset of the functionality that the full .NET Framework's DataGrid control provides. Despite this limitation, the DataGrid control is still quite useful. The control allows you to bind to different data sources; customize which columns will be displayed; customize the colors, row header text, and column header text; and handle events that are fired when the user selects rows and cells in the grid.

The DataGrid control does not provide editing support. You can work around this by providing your own editing user interface when users click inside the control. To learn how to handle user click events, see the "Determining the Selected Row or Selected Cell in the DataGrid" section. The DataGrid also provides limited support for customizing how columns are drawn. The "Customizing the DataGrid Control" section describes how to customize the columns of the DataGrid.

Populating the DataGrid Control

The DataGrid can be bound to the following data tables and collections:

  • Any object that implements the IList or IListSource interface.

  • An ArrayList object that contains the same type objects. If the ArrayList object contains objects of different types, then an exception will be thrown.

  • A single DataTable object. The DataGrid control cannot handle displaying rows from multiple or related DataTable objects.

  • A DataView object.

Binding the DataGrid to its data source is simple. All you have to do is set the DataSource property on the DataGrid to a reference of the data source. The DataGrid will display all of the columns and rows in the data source by default. See the "Customizing the DataGrid Control" section to learn how to customize which columns will be displayed in the grid. The following code demonstrates how to bind a DataTable in a DataSet to a DataGrid control.

dataGrid1.DataSource = dataset.Tables["Apples"];
dataGrid1.DataSource = dataset.Tables("Apples");

Figure 3.30 demonstrates the DataGrid control running on the Pocket PC 2002 emulator. The complete listing for this application can be found in the code accompanying this book.

Figure 3.30Figure 3.30 An application that showcases the DataGrid control running on the Pocket PC 2002 emulator.

Customizing the DataGrid Control

The DataGrid control can be customized by changing the display colors and by customizing the style of each column. There are several properties that control the colors of the DataGrid control, as described in Table 3.11.

Table 3.11 DataGrid Properties That Format the Colors of the Grid

Color Property



The color of the non-row area of the grid


The color of the text in the grid


The color of the lines in the grid


The color of all the row and column headers


The foreground color of the headers


The back color of the selected rows


The text color of the selected rows

The column headers and row-indicator headers are displayed by default. You can hide these headers by setting the ColumnHeadersVisible and RowHeaderVisible properties to false.

The columns of the DataGrid control can be further customized by using the DataGridTableStyle class, which represents how the DataGrid control is drawn. The MappingName property represents the name of the data source that will be displayed in the DataGrid. For example, if the data source is a DataTable named Apples, then the MappingName should be set to "Apples".

The DataGridTableStyle class also exposes the GridColumnStyles property, which is a collection of DataGridColumnStyle objects. You should create an instance of the DataGridTableStyle class for each column that you want to display; it will dictate how the column will be drawn. Once you have added all of the DataGridColumnStyle objects to the DataGridTableStyle.GridColumnStyles property, you must add the DataGridTableStyle to the DataGrid's TableStyles property.

The DataGridColumnStyle is an abstract class that you can inherit from to customize how the column will be drawn.

The .NET Compact Framework provides an implementation of the abstract class: the DataGridTextBoxColumn class. Table 3.12 lists the properties of the DataGridTextBoxColumn and how they affect the DataGrid column.

Table 3.12 Properties of the DataGridTextBoxColumn Class




The text of the column header


The name used to map the column style to a data member in the data source


The text that is displayed when the column contains a null reference


The width of the column

Listing 3.5 demonstrates how to format columns through code using the DataGridTableStyle class:

Listing 3.5

DataGridTableStyle dgts = new DataGridTableStyle();
dgts.MappingName = "Apples";

DataGridTextBoxColumn nameColumn = new DataGridTextBoxColumn();
nameColumn.MappingName = "Name";
nameColumn.HeaderText = "Apple Name";
nameColumn.Width = 80;

DataGridTextBoxColumn useColumn = new DataGridTextBoxColumn();
useColumn.MappingName = "Usage";
useColumn.HeaderText = "Best usage";
useColumn.Width = 80;

DataGridTextBoxColumn avalColumn = new DataGridTextBoxColumn();
avalColumn.MappingName = "Availability";
avalColumn.HeaderText = "Best Time to Buy";
avalColumn.Width = 80;

Dim dgts = new DataGridTableStyle()
dgts.MappingName = "Apples"

Dim nameColumn = new DataGridTextBoxColumn()
nameColumn.MappingName = "Name"
nameColumn.HeaderText = "Apple Name"
nameColumn.Width = 80

Dim useColumn = new DataGridTextBoxColumn ()
useColumn.MappingName = "Usage"
useColumn.HeaderText = "Best usage"
useColumn.Width = 80

Dim avalColumn = new DataGridTextBoxColumn()
avalColumn.MappingName = "Availability"
avalColumn.HeaderText = "Best Time to Buy"
avalColumn.Width = 80


Editing the TableStyles property can also be done through the Properties window. First, select the DataGrid in the Form Designer. Click the ellipsis next to the TableStyles property name in the Properties window. This will display the DataGridTableStyle Collection Editor (see Figure 3.31). You can click the Add and Remove buttons to add DataGridTableStyle objects. This dialog allows you to edit the MappingName property.

Figure 3.31Figure 3.31 The DataGridTableStyle Collection Editor.

You can also add DataGridColumnStyle objects to the GridColumnStyle property by clicking the ellipsis next to the property name. This will bring up the DataGridColumnStyle Collection Editor (see Figure 3.32). You can add and remove DataGridColumnStyle objects as well as edit their properties.

Figure 3.32Figure 3.32 The DataGridColumnStyle Collection Editor.

Determining the Selected Row or Selected Cell in the DataGrid

The DataGrid control can have either an entire row or a single cell selected. To determine which cell or row the user clicked, you should use the HitTest method in combination with the DataGrid's MouseUp event. The MouseUp event will be fired when the user clicks anywhere inside the DataGrid control. You should retrieve the coordinates of the click event from the MouseEventArgs object (the X and Y properties).

Then pass the coordinates to the HitTest method. The method will return information about the DataGrid at the click coordinates. The method returns a HitTestInfo object. The object contains the Column, Row, and Type properties. The Row and Column properties are the indexes of the row and column the user clicks. The Type property specifies the part of the DataGrid control the user clicked. The Type property returns a member of the DataGrid.HitTestType enumeration. Table 3.13 defines the member of the HitTestType enumeration and the meanings.

Table 3.13 Members of the HitTestType Enumeration




The user clicked a cell.


The user clicked a column header.


The line between a column header was dragged to resize a column's width.


The user clicked the background area of the table.


The user clicked a row header.


The line between a row header was dragged to resize a row's height.

The following code demonstrates how to handle the MouseUp event and use the HitTest method.

private void dataGrid1_MouseUp(object sender,
    System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs e) {
 HitTestInfo hitInfo = dataGrid1.HitTest(e.X, e.Y);

 if(hitInfo.Type == HitTestType.Cell) {
  string selCell = dataGrid1[hitInfo.Row, hitInfo.Column];
  if(cellData != null)
   this.label1.Text = selCell.ToString();
Private Sub DataGrid1_MouseUp _
    (ByVal sender As Object,
    ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs)_
    Handles DataGrid1.MouseUp
  Dim hitInfo As System.Windows.Forms.DataGrid.HitTestInfo
  hitInfo = DataGrid1.HitTest(e.X, e.Y)

  Me.label2.Text = String.Empty
  Me.label3.Text = String.Format("Row: {0}", hitInfo.Row)
  Me.label4.Text = String.Format("Column: {0}", hitInfo.Column)
  Me.label5.Text = String.Format("Type: {0}", hitInfo.Type.ToString())

  If hitInfo.Type = System.Windows.Forms.DataGrid.HitTestType.Cell Then
   Dim selCell As Object
   selCell = DataGrid1.Item(hitInfo.Row, hitInfo.Column)
   If Not selCell Is Nothing Then
    Me.label2.Text = selCell.ToString()
   End If
  End If
 End Sub

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020