Software Development

  Lecture Notes

Visual Basic Controls


Forms and Controls



This guide  will help you to: -   

  • Understand forms and the controls that you can place on the

Forms and Controls

So, how do you draw design and construct a form for user input or output? With Visual Basic, you have a toolbox filled with controls. You can choose which controls you want by dragging them onto a form.  The toolbox is shown below.

If you double-click one of the controls in the toolbox it places a copy of that control onto your form.  You can move a control to a different place on the form if you wish by dragging it.



Activity A

  1. Open Visual Basic.  It should be on the Start Menu > Programs > Visual Studio 6 > Visual Basic.
  2. Can you see a toolbox on the left and a form in the middle? If not ask your lecturer for help.
  3. Try and make your form look like my form shown in the picture above. Just double click a control on the toolbox and it will be placed in the center of your form.  Then move the control to the proper position by dragging it.
  4. When you have finished placing all the controls, you can view what your program will look like to the user by running it. Just click on the play icon in the toolbar near the top of Visual Basic. 
  5. You should end up with something like this program. Just click the link and choose Open.
    It is not a very exciting program at the moment because I have not added code to make it do anything useful.
Controls and their Purpose

Each control has a different purpose. A control will usually either be for displaying information to the user (output) or for getting information from the user (input).

Icon Control Name What it looks like on the form  What it is for

Label Used for displaying information to the user and labelling other controls
TextBox Meant for user input. The user can type information into a text box
CheckBox Used for selecting or deselecting some feature of the program.
ComboBox Displays a list of items in a drop-down list and the user selects one.
Frame You can place other controls inside a frame and group them nicely.
ListBox Displays a list of items and the user can select one.
OptionButton Option buttons are usually grouped together and the user chooses one.
CommandButton The user clicks the command button.  E.g. OK, Cancel etc.
Timer Used to get your program to execute code at certain intervals
PictureBox You can display pictures inside this control
VScrollBar The slider allows the user to scroll things such as text inside a text area, or a picture that is too large to display all at once.
HScrollBar Like the vertical scrollbar, this allows the user to scroll.



Activity B

Here are some controls you can play with. 
Fill in the form below. Then click the Submit command button.

About Me

This is a TextBox

Type in your name

This is a CheckBox

I want to be rich and successful

This is a group of Option Buttons

I am cool I am not cool 

This is a ComboBox

Choose an item

This is a Command Button

Click this button to finish

Changing Control Properties

Some of the controls in your program can be made more useful by setting the control's properties. To change the property of a control in Visual Basic, you need to select that control and change the property value in the properties window. The picture below shows the ListBox selected.  The properties window is on the right and I am adding the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 to the List property.  Then the ListBox will display these numbers.

Here are some useful properties. There are many others.

Caption Property - this changes the text that is displayed by a control.  I.e. a label's text.

List Property - you can add items for a ComboBox or ListBox to display.

Picture Property - you can add a picture to your PictureBox.

The picture shows the difference when I change some of the property values of the different controls.
  • I changed the caption of the Label to Angela
  • I added the items 1, 2, 3 and 4 to the ListBox list
  • I added a picture to the PictureBox.


Activity C

In the form you created in Activity A, change the following properties...

  1. Change your label's Caption property so it displays your name
  2. Use the List property to change your ListBox so it displays the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  3. Add a picture to  your PictureBox using the Picture property.





  Unit Information



Scheme of Work

Notes &Tutorials



Books & Things